Edinburgh is about to become the home of the first Scottish parliament in 300 years. As political passions run high, DI John Rebus is charged with liaison, thanks to the new parliament being resident in Queensbury House, bang in the middle of his patch. But Queensbury House has its own, dark past.
Legend has it that a young man was roasted there on a spit by a madman. When the fireplace where the youth died is uncovered another more recent murder victim is found. Days later, in the gardens outside, there is another body and Rebus is under pressure to find instant answers.
As the case proceeds, the Inspector finds himself face to face with one of Edinburgh's most notorious criminals...
©2010 Ian Rankin (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group, Ltd
Wold weary writer
I have greatly enjoyed other Ian Rankin/Jack Harvey books from Audible - notably The Complaints - as well as other Rebus books I've read in print form. However, I am struggling to stay with this one as the narration is completely over the top: as if the reader is doing a pastiche of a fruity old Scottish actor auditioning for the part of a fruity old Scottish actor. An already dense plot patchwork and a large-ish cast of characters require minimal embellishment in the narration. Rebus's mean streets need a lot less relish.
This audio-book made me realise just how much difference the reader makes to what one thinks of a book. This narrator was the wrong choice. If he is Scottish, I am surprised, as his accent[s] were never convincing and I have to say that I was stunned at how many inhabitants of Edinburgh had accents from various parts of England. There were also too many areas where the narrator tripped up over where to stress a sentence and it was a struggle to make sense of what he was saying.
I don't know how much this influenced my appreciation of the book. I always enjoy Rebus, but am not sure that this was one of the best I have listened to. The Grieve family did not altogether convince me and I felt that there were unexplored back-stories [maybe they come together in a future book ...]. I also struggle with Cafferty - he didn't come across as sufficiently menacing and I don't know how much that was down to the way the book was read, or how Ian Rankin wrote it. But, in either case, whatever possessed Rebus to continually make himself vulnerable to him? I also thought that the process of identifying the murderer didn't quite work.
I like the setting in real time, the discussions around the birth of the Scottish Parliament and the harking back to previous periods in Scottish politics. Also the development of Siobhan. But I wasn't sure how convinced I was by the character of fellow-cop Linford. There is a good cast of supporting characters and, as ever, the city has a part all of its own.
Not sure what version other reviewers listened to, but it's definitely James Macpherson reading in the download I received, and he does an excellent job as usual.
I really liked this Rebus novel. I am going though the series form the beginning and this is my favourite so far, not as much action but a real challenge for the characters.
Siobhan really comes through in this book and shines. Hopefully she becomes a more integral part of the series going forward as she is a good foil to Rebus.
Just through this series and I love his performance. The Scottish accent is great and easy to follow characters.
The scenes with Cafferty were most intriguing
No, as the story is great, but the narration is awful.
The narration was over the top so had to be listened to in small measures. I would have expected Ian Rankin of all people to be against the use of this narrator.
Art, thrillers, history, mystery.
.... then you won't have to listen to this narrator. It isn't James McPherson as listed. It is Samuel Gillies, specialist in drawling and plummy vowels. He gives Siobhan Clarke a Yorkshire accent. I couldn't listen beyond the first few chapters.
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