Saturday, 17 January 2015


I cannot remember exactly when I started reading the Ian Rankin ‘Rebus’ detective stories – it was soon after they came out, I think at the end of the 1980’s. The librarian at our little neighbourhood library in Bexleyheath pointed them out and suggested I might enjoy them. That was in the days before the Internet – and word of mouth recommendations [live or on Radio 4] was my main way of finding new authors.
rebusI knew the word rebus meaning a word/picture puzzle – in fact I’d taught it to Liz, and she taught it to her Primary School teacher.
For years I have been reading these books, and enjoying the TV series. First with John Hannah, then with Ken Stott playing the lead role.
In December, I polished off three very different Rebus books. Thanks Dereham Library for two, and AgeUK for the third.
rankin st of shadow
rankin beat goes on
rebus's scotland
Saints of the Shadow Bible came out at the end of 2013. It is Rebus sorting out a case which goes back to his early years as a detective. Back in the days when some coppers ‘bent the rules’ to get results. Was he among them?
You will have to read it to find out the exact details – but I thought it was well written and I enjoyed it immensely.
The Beat Goes On is a collection of short stories featuring Rebus- many were written for magazines. It came out in October 2014 [although obviously, many stories had been written years before]  Rankin apologises that so many are set around Christmas-time, but that’s often when periodicals want a ‘guest story’! No matter, they are all beautifully crafted. Writing a short story can be harder than a full length novel, I think. Every word has to be chosen with care, no room for wasted dialogue or irrelevant flowery description. Rankin is clearly a master of the art. There are some beautiful twists-in-the-tale endings, and it was a good reading book for the Christmas holidays. Partly due to the plethora of wintry yarns- but also because their brevity made each one a good bedtime story. The book ends with a brief chapter on how Rebus came about. Which led beautifully onto my third book…
Rebus’s Scotland is totally different - Rankin writes of the Scotland beyond the tourist guidebooks, highlighting places that inspired settings for his novels. He reveals more of the story of Rebus and how this character came to be written – and how much of himself and his own background has seeped into the stories. The photographers who produce the covers for the novels have taken  over 100 evocative pictures, specially commissioned to reflect the text. It was a really interesting read [and well worth the 20p I paid!]
One more rebus before I go back to the interminable Packing Of The Boxes. It seems to be a truly Sisyphean Task!


  1. Can you see I love you - these are my kind of word puzzles!
    As for Sisyphean, going to have to look that up in the dictionary!

  2. aaaww that's nice. I used to love these puzzles as a child. I like watching Rebus when I can get the chance.

  3. Can you see I love you?

    I had a book based on kids' tv series T-bag which had an Amazing long rebus in it!

  4. I love the rebus novels and used to love these puzzles too. I have been swithering about the last novel as I usually dislike collections of short stories as I feel you are no sooner into the story and the bitter sweet twist is upon you. However I am going to look again at this one again on your recommendation as I do love Rebus and maybe use an audible credit

    1. "Swithering" is a fabulous Scots word- I had to look it up [more evocative than vacillating, I think!] There are LOTS of stories in the book - of varying lengths - some quite brief, others a little more meaty. If you do read it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did

  5. Have not tried the Rebus books...thanks for the tip! Hope you can see we love you too!

    1. In these last few days, I have felt incredibly surrounded by the love of so many friends- in reality and in Blogland, thankyou

  6. We've just got saints of the Shadow Bible. PC is reading it first. I thought the sub-text was interesting. Very Biblical.. We could have a blog chat when I get through it!


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