The Falls Mass Market Paperback – Feb 8 2003
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Edinburgh police detective John Rebus, Ian Rankin's popular series detective, is a brilliantly realized character, as moody, dark, and melancholy as Edinburgh itself. In The Falls, he's almost certain that missing university student Philippa Balfour is dead, but he's less sure how she died or what her misadventure has to do with the tiny doll in a hand-sized coffin that turns up near a waterfall on the Balfour family estate. It's not the first coffin found near the scene of a crime; could Philippa be the victim of a serial killer? The only other lead the police have is a cryptic e-mail from someone called Quiz Master, inviting Philippa--and then constable Siobhan Clarke, who responds using Philippa's screen name--to join him in a bizarre scavenger hunt that might lead Clarke to Philippa's body, her killer, or her own death.
This time out Rebus has a new boss, who's no happier with his unorthodox style or impolitic attitude toward the Edinburgh establishment than his last one was. But even under department suspension, Rebus manages to tie a number of seemingly disparate and unconnected clues together and deliver a killer in a scene that even the most discerning reader may not see coming until it jumps off the page. A bestseller in the U.K., The Falls is Rankin's best yet. --Jane Adams --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
A number one U.K. bestseller, Rankin's 13th novel featuring Scottish Det. Insp. John Rebus may be his breakout book in the U.S. Rankin's brilliant evocation of a moody Edinburgh, deeply human characters and labyrinthine plot give dimension to this always absorbing series. With his stubborn insistence on tying up the frayed ends of every knotty clue, and iconoclastic refusal to be a team player, hard-drinking Rebus is a bane to his superiors but a blessing to readers. University student Philippa Balfour, daughter of the powerful head of a private bank, disappears; the few clues are incongruous a puzzling Internet role-playing game she participated in and a doll in a tiny wooden coffin found near her discordant family's home. Rebus's assistant, Det. Constable Siobhan Clarke, tackles the mysterious Internet game; Rebus ignores his superiors by obsessively following the coffin's obscure historical implications, aided by museum curator Jean Burchill, a friend of newly appointed Det. Chief Supt. Gill Templer and a promising anodyne to Rebus's lonely personal life. Readers won't be able to skim this dark, densely written novel, but they won't want to. Artfully placed red herrings, a large cast of multifaceted characters and a gripping pace will keep them engrossed. And Rebus is a character whose devils and idiosyncrasies will leave them eager for more. (Nov. 8)Forecast: A bestseller in Ireland, Australia and Canada as well, this novel may achieve similar heights here, spurred by a tour by the Edinburgh author, winner of Britain's Gold Dagger Award.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
That having been said, reading this mystery was like a trip to Edinburgh as someone who lives and works there sees the city -- a city with very deep roots in history, still influenced by events that occurred hundreds of years ago, living under the shadow of a castle and with history in every building.
The plot involves the disappearance of a wealthy young college student, who was supposed to be meeting friends for drinks and never shows up. Because of who she is, all the stops are pulled out to find her, and Rebus finds himself one of many working on this case. He believes from the start that she has been killed and he is investigating a homicide. He also thinks there's some connection between her death and some miniature coffins that have been found from time to time, and there's a possibility that her death is connected to a puzzle-solving computer game she's been playing.
If you like mysteries that make you think, that really challenge your intelligence and are written with literary skill that will make them timeless classics, Rankin is an author for you. This is my fourth book by him and I'm relishing reading more in the series.
Ian Rankin's prose is sharp and often witty, and his Edinbuirgh (Which in this is perhaps at the most vivid it ever has been) is superbly drawn. I live a long way away from the city, and have never been there, yet i still get an intense picture of it in my mind. Rankin's Edinburgh pulses with energy and throbs with a dark sinister evil that you cant quite place.
The plot in this one contains no big gansters, no organised crime. Just a simple (appearing so at first, at least) puzzle about the disappearance of a young girl. Also, as a subplot Rankin brilliantly interweaves the step back into history, and as Rebus excavates the soil surrounding the truth about the Arthur's Seat coffins. All of it is very cleverly done, and you want to know the solution to each puzzle, even though one is centred years and years in the past, equally as much.
Rebus is more sombre this time around, and you get the sense that he is slowing down somewhat, Rankin as well as Rebus. And with his new love interest (who is the most promising of the lot) we begin to see a bright new spark in John, as he glimpses something for him which lies past the job...
This is a very good book, and Rankin is one of the shining stars of British writing. Long may he continue to be so. ....
I won't repeat what others have described of the story but add some details I found interesting. First, the Internet role-playing aspect was not only completely authentic (I have a young adult son who keeps me up on these things), but presented with a delicate balance that didn't talk down to the non-Internet initiates, but wasn't incomprehensible either. I almost got interested in the games myself. Second, I was captivated by the intricate exploration of the problems encountered by both men and women when women rise to positions of leadership in traditionally male-dominated fields. It's great that Rankin understands that there are no easy answers and that there are always tradeoffs. I wish the men I knew in my field had as much understanding. Finally, John Rebus is definitely maturing emotionally and spiritually as he matures in years. I enjoyed every flash of insight into his complex person as the plot unfolded. If you haven't read Rankin before, start! You can watch the growth of the author and the characters by starting with the first, Knots and Crosses, or you can plunge into the full-blown alternative reality in this book. Either way, you will emerge glad you invested the time.
Most recent customer reviews
Gave this book an Excellant plus in my own book review system. A must read for sure!Published 5 months ago by C. Warner
I was on a Rankin kick when I bought this book. Got through about half of his catalog and moved on. I think it's time to finish off the rest of his books.Published on Sept. 28 2013 by Geordie A.
The Product Description above summarizes this intricate thriller well, with Detective Inspector Rebus following two different leads in connection with the disappearance of a... Read morePublished on Sept. 8 2007 by ELI (Italy)
One of the great things about the Rebus novels is the subdued character conflicts at play underneath the plots and subplots. Read morePublished on April 4 2004 by cyberpsycho
This is one of those books that you read, and after you're finished, you're not sure if you liked it or not. It wasn't great, but there is nothing really wrong with it. Read morePublished on May 2 2003 by sporkdude
The New York Public Library is suffering for lack of books - so I took out The Falls by Ian Rankin because there was not much to choose from (I'm not a fan of police procedurals... Read morePublished on May 13 2002
As a longtime reader of British mystery books, I have many favorite authors, but I think Ian Rankin is at the top of the list. Read morePublished on April 1 2002 by Chris Engleman
The new John Rebus book is outstanding. The " Falls", the latest installment in the series, finds Rebus at his dark and brooding best. Read morePublished on March 19 2002 by Darrell L. Gettys
Ian Rankin has managed to drag Edinburgh DI John Rebus into the 21st century. In this fine novel Rebus (through Siobhan Clarke) goes out onto the Internet to make contact with a... Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2002 by Joseph A. Hines