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Set in Darkness Abridged (Inspector Rebus) by Ian Rankin

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On a frosty winter's morning, DI John Rebus and a select group of colleagues are in the company of an expert archaeologist on a tour of Queensbury House – an ex-hospital about to house Her Majesty's parliament in Scotland - when they stumble across a mummified body secreted behind a wall. Later that same day, a tramp jumps off the North Bridge though the glass roof of Waverly Station, a not unusual occurrence except that 'Supertramp' had in his possession a building society passbook with a balance of over £400,000 in it. The two cases seem unconnected until a third death - of a high-profile prospective Member of the Scottish Parliament - is discovered in Queensbury House's disused summer-house. As Rebus and his hand-picked crew dig up secrets twenty years buried, it begins to look as if Scotland's second attempt at devolution though more successful will be just as dirty... This eleventh Rebus novel is vintage Rankin - dark, blackly funny and brilliantly convoluted - and brings back to Edinburgh the ghost of a Mr Big who has the power to destabilise a state.

Reviews (7)
I imagine that if you are Scottish and both familiar with Edinburgh and idiomatic Scottish slang, you might find this more than a so-so read.
Rankin was strongly recommended by a Scottish acquaintance and this book in particular as being representative.
The plot twists and the eventual weaving together of some apparently unrelated murders is skillfully accomplished. Having been immersed in Scandinavian mystery from the likes of Nesbo, Mankel, and Adler-Olson, with a separate nod to Dibdin, I found the writing and plotting lackluster.
Additionally, I had to repeatedly stop and press my Kindle for the definition of too many localisms. Perhaps there are more engaging Inspector Rebus books, but I am not going to try any others.
Ian Rankin's "Set in Darkness" is actually a reprint of a book he originally wrote and published in the late 1990's. As I have read all - I think, anyway - of his books about Inspector John Rebus, of the Lothian and Borders Police Department in Edinburgh, I was a little worried when I received this book from AmazonUSA that I had read it years before. I was glad to realise I hadn't - it was new to me.

"Set in Darkness" is definitely not Rankin's best Rebus book. It's good enough to enjoy - three plot lines are reduced by the end of the book - but to a novice Rankin-reader, it's a tough slog. John Rebus, a moody, go-it-alone kind of cop, is the bane of his supervisors' existence. Not a team player when it counts in solving a crime or two, Rebus is not a sympathetic character. He is, however, an extremely interesting one to read about. He's surrounded - loosely - by his fellow police officers and works with them, as needed. The "loner cop" is one we've all seen many times before. Rankin does a good job at fleshing out both the good guys and the bad guys in his work, and "Set in Darkness" doesn't disappoint in its nuanced character development. I think, though, the plot sort of fell a little short of great.

If you've never read Ian Rankin, I'd start with one of his other Rebus books. They're all described in Amazon fairly well.
I started reading Rankin when my muses challenged me to write a mystery instead of a thriller. Some people would call his novels police procedurals--I suppose these same people would call Christie's Miss Marple series cozies. I think the mystery moniker is fine. When I started reading Rankin, the Scottish dialect was a wee bit troublesome to me. But that was part of the fun, and now I'm used to it. Get past it and you will, like me, enjoy some really good stories. This one is one of the best. Almost anything I would say would be a spoiler, so...just read it and enjoy. You will find all your favorite Rankin characters here...and more, plus a group of intertwined plots that served me as a model for reaching simplicity out of complexity.
Rankin is a Scotsman who writes mysteries set in and around Edinburgh. Since I visited Scotland last summer and spent time in Edinburgh, I have really enjoyed immersing myself in stories within that familiar area. Set in Darkness was written while the new Parliament building was under construction and a (fictitious) body was found in the old walls being torn down to make way for the new. This is an "Inspector Rebus" mystery. I also have The Complete Short Stories of Ian Rankin, which includes 20 Inspector Rebus stories as well as 15 others. Sometimes a short story is all I want to read--just enough to absorb during lunch on my own! If you're attuned to the Scots' way of thinking and speaking, you'll find Rankin's books and stories very interesting.
I don'[t know why it is that British crime writers are so good at what they do... Rankin, especially in the "Rebus" series, tells a good, believable story without resorting to graphic sex and gratuitous violence. He also manages to write several pages without resorting to four-letter words. He uses them when it appropriate for the character. His characters-especially Inspector Rebus are deeply flawed-not "holier than thou" personalities, yet he manages to make them likable. Set in Darkness was an excellent story that will rob you of your sleep if you read at night. You just can't put the book down.
Scoreboard Bleeding
I am a big fan of Inspector John Rebus. I enjoyed this book as I have most of the others that I have read. The ending is not dramatic but like much of life sort of unwinds and generally speaking Rebus got his man. His private life stays as messy as ever and one wishes sense could be drummed into his head. But, Ian Rankin has created a flawed human being like most of us. "Set in Darkness" is an excellent read.
Ian Rankin just gets better and better. His (anti-)hero John Rebus, an Edinburgh cop, never fails to fascinate. Like the other books in this series, the mystery is edgy, tight and suspenseful, the secondary characters compelling, and Edinburgh--almost a character in itself--looms in the background, grim, shabby and poignantly dignified. What makes Rankin so good is the moral dilemmas he throws Inspector Rebus into and the choices he forces his character to make. Rebus is cynical, world weary, irreverent, alcholic--a loner who has failed at his personal and professional lives in all the recognized ways. And yet we like him immensely and sympathize completely, even when we don't agree with the choices he makes.
Somehow, Rankin keeps producing great reads, each better than the last, and "Set in Darkness" is no exception. I just hope Rankin never tires of Inspector John Rebus, because I won't.
Inspector Rebus continues to delight. The details and atmosphere of Scotland at large and of Edinburgh in particular are, for me, a wondrous journey to places unknown. Thanks to Rankin.

ISBN: 0752832115

Rating: 4.7/5

Votes: 236

Other Formats: txt mbr mobi lrf

ISBN13: 978-0752832111

Publisher: Orion Pub Co; Abridged edition edition (March 2000)

Language: English

Subcategory: Mystery

Set in Darkness Abridged (Inspector Rebus)
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Author: Ian Rankin
Title: Set in Darkness Abridged (Inspector Rebus)