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Set In Darkness    by Ian Rankin order for
Set In Darkness
by Ian Rankin
Order:  USA  Can
Orion, 2000 (2000)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Set In Darkness is the eleventh novel in the Inspector Rebus series - as rich in history and as sombre as their Edinburgh settings. Rebus' boss 'Farmer' Watson is coasting towards retirement and wants the Inspector 'out of trouble and out of his hair'. So he assigns Rebus to a liaison role in the PPLC, Policing of Parliament Liaison Committee, planning for the new Scottish parliament.

As usual, trouble finds Rebus in a most unlikely spot when a fireplace uncovered in a historic site reveals a twenty years dead murder victim and another fresher body quickly follows - Roddy Grieve, a political candidate from an important family. Rebus is assigned to assist a young fast-stream colleague, Derek Linford, with the latter investigation. Of course he soon sidelines Linford, whom the reader quickly grows to dislike as much as Rebus does.

Complications ensue as Rebus has an unwise fling with the sister of the victim, fading ex-model Lorna Grieve. He also pushes the investigation of the old murder as vigorously as the more recent one and slowly uncovers links between them and to the death of 'Mr. Supertramp', who committed suicide with a fortune in the bank. Siobhan Clarke, in whom Rebus has a fatherly interest (or is it more?) witnessed the suicide and handles this investigation along with that of a team of rapists who target singles clubs. And Rebus' old nemesis, Ger Cafferty, is released from prison to stir the pot.

Rebus is a very real protagonist, seasoned on the job and with his own personal devils to combat. He drinks and smokes too much, cannot hang on to a relationship and suffers guilt over his daughter's recent serious injury in a hit and run. However he is dogged in pursuit of justice and will not let go, no matter the prevailing political winds and directions from above. The reader does not always like Inspector Rebus but he wins our admiration every time.

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