Dorothy's Reviews > The Hanging Garden

The Hanging Garden by Ian Rankin
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May 21, 2010

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bookshelves: police-procedurals

Inspector Rebus can't help getting personally involved in his cases, but when he rescues a Bosnian refugee who has been forced into being a prostitute, his personal involvement reaches a new high water mark. The girl bears an uncanny resemblance to his daughter, Sammy. Rebus has to find a way to help her.

Meantime, Edinburgh has become a battleground for two rival bad guys and their gangs and it seems that there may be some foreign groups mixed in as well. As if that were not enough to keep him busy, Rebus has been assigned to investigate an old man who may be a Nazi war criminal - an old man who turns up dead one day, and it looks like murder. Jewish Nazi hunters and British Intelligence were also interested in this man, but who would have wanted him dead and unable to talk? There may be several suspects.

In the middle of all this, the unthinkable happens - Sammy is the victim of a hit and run. As she lies in hospital in a coma, wavering between life and death, Rebus is convinced that her "accident" was meant as a warning to him and bends all his efforts toward finding out who is responsible because he wants vengeance.

There are a lot of story lines in this Rebus mystery, but experienced readers know that somehow in the end all those lines are going to tie up in a nice little knot.

Rankin is expert at keeping the suspense going and keeping all those lines of inquiry together until his detective can make sense of them. Rankin's creation, Inspector Rebus, is a very flawed character, not unlike the rest of us. But he doesn't let his flaws stand in the way of his dogged persistence when it comes to fighting crime and solving mysteries. And, in spite of his flaws, or maybe because of them, he maintains his strong moral center. He is a good guy and he is easy to root for. That is one of the real strengths of this series.

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