Ed­in­burgh de­tec­tive Re­bus butts in on case in new novel

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Books - By Oline H. Cogdill Sun Sen­tinel Cor­re­spon­dent Oline H. Cogdill can be reached at [email protected] .com.

Ed­in­burgh po­lice de­tec­tive John Re­bus has never gone quiet into that good night. Al­though Ian Rankin “of­fi­cially” re­tired his peren­nial char­ac­ter in 2007’s “Exit Mu­sic,” Re­bus has never been far from de­tec­tive work, whether as an of­fi­cial po­lice con­sul­tant or, more likely, just butting in.

The 17 novels about Re­bus with the Ed­in­burgh po­lice de­part­ment linked Scot­tish his­tory with in­sight­ful de­tec­tive work. The five with Re­bus as a free agent are very much about in­sti­tu­tional knowl­edge, how it fits with con­tem­po­rary sleuthing and how its loss changes things.

Re­bus feels his age ev­ery day — his bad habits have caught up with him. But his keen mind and way of look­ing at the world con­tin­ues.

“In a House of Lies” finds Re­bus get­ting in­volved with a case han­dled by De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Siob­han Clarke, his old col­league and one of the few peo­ple he trusts. The skele­tal re­mains of pri­vate de­tec­tive Stu­art Bloom have just been dis­cov­ered in a re­mote wood. Bloom went miss­ing in 2008 and it ap­pears the body was moved at least once. Bloom’s an­kles were shack­led with po­li­ceis­sued hand­cuffs, sug­gest­ing po­lice cor­rup­tion. Bloom was a tena­cious pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor with a num­ber of po­lice ene­mies. That he also hap­pened to be gay may in­di­cate ho­mo­pho­bic fac­tors.

Re­bus fol­lows his in­stincts and knowl­edge of the past, lead­ing to a low­bud­get film­maker, dirty cops and the for­got­ten case Bloom was work­ing on.

The pla­tonic re­la­tion­ship Ian Rankin is the au­thor of “In a House of Lies,” a John Re­bus mys­tery.

‘In a House of Lies’

by Ian Rankin. Lit­tle, Brown, 384 pages, $27 be­tween Re­bus and Clarke has long pro­vided a solid foun­da­tion for this se­ries. The two are of­ten frus­trated with each other, but there is never any doubt that each re­spects the other.

Rankin’s de­ci­sion to make Re­bus ac­cept manda­tory re­tire­ment ended the char­ac­ter’s po­lice ca­reer but has pro­vided

new av­enues of rich sto­ry­telling.

Meet the au­thor

Ian Rankin will dis­cuss “In a House of Lies” at 7 p.m. Mon­day at Mur­der on the Beach, 273 Pineap­ple Grove Way, Del­ray Beach,

561-279-7790, mur­deron­the­beach.com; and at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Co­ral Gables, 305-4424408.

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