Good Hanging Paperback – Dec 7 2010
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Penzler Pick, January 2002: Ian Rankin is now the United Kingdom's bestselling crime writer. His 15 police procedurals featuring the dour Scottish Detective Inspector John Rebus are beginning, at last, to attract a devoted--and deserved--following in this country. St. Martin's has just published this, Rankin's 1992 collection of short stories, and I can't think of a better way to be introduced to John Rebus and his creator.
Dubbed "Tartan Noir" by James Ellroy, Rankin's tales are set in Edinburgh. Not in the beautiful streets that tourists see (those cobbled sidewalks leading up to Edinburgh Castle), but in its dark, damp recesses where crime flourishes. That's where Rebus works. The crime and criminals there make Rebus's job a tough one, and they also offend his sense of decency and order.
These 12 stories tell of mystery, suffering, and mayhem, which Rebus alone of all the detectives on the force, with his remarkable deductive skills, can solve. In "Being Frank," a homeless man, from his unique perspective on the park bench, is able to give Rebus the information he needs to break up a scam by local ne'er-do-wells. Crimes gone unsolved for 20 years, religious sightings, lovers crossed, and tales of revenge all come under the jaundiced eye of the very talented Rebus.
Even 10 years ago, when he was writing these stories, Rankin was a writer of great gifts. Time has borne out this promise. So it is easy to predict that, once you have sampled these short cases, you will become one of the many readers eagerly awaiting another Rebus novel from this sensitive and enormously talented young writer. --Otto Penzler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
For his 13th Det. Insp. John Rebus volume, Ian Rankin (The Falls) has traded the full-length police procedural for a collection of 12 gripping stories. The king of tartan noir puts his popular Scottish "heart attack material" supersleuth to work investigating arson, a ghostly vision, a converted ex-con and the "perfect murder" in A Good Hanging's fast-paced mini-mysteries.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Such an edition as this is rather a throw-back to those good-old 'golden' days of the great mystery writers, such as Dame Agatha, Ellery Queen, Rex Stout and many others who regularly wrote short stories along with their full-length novels. Eventually, when a dozen or so of these little gems had accrued in the author's basket, they would be brought out in their own separate volume. Many of these collections are as well known as the authors' full-length novels.
Following this lead, Mr. Rankin displays a sure touch with this batch of shorter stories, all of which feature Detective Inspector John Rebus of the Edinburgh police force. There are other continuing characters as well, who surface here or there, providing a spot of humor or compassion or just camaraderie.
I'd not read anthing by Mr. Rankin before finding this book. That situation is about to be remedied as I go looking for "Knots and Crosses" to begin at the beginning of the Inspector Rebus tales. I would highly recommend a similar path to any other devoted readers of mystery novels, especially those who treasure a setting that's nearly part of the plot, characters with whom one can practically form a friendship, and above all, exellent writing.
There are some really very good stories here..."A Good Hanging" "The Gentlemen's Club" and "Concrete Evidence". All of which are very enjoyable. the final story "Monstrous Trumpet" would be included in the above category, but for it's rather unbelieveable solution. The inclusion of the French visiting policeman, though, was a stroke of genius. His presence is incredibly enjoyable.
All of the stories are clever, and all enjoyable. there are several nice twists here and there, and Rebus, of course, to provide for extra entertainment.
"Sunday" is perhaps the most inventive story, certainly the one most "Rebus orientated". "Auld Lang Syne" is a very dull story until the final two or three pages, where it picks up some life. Of "Not Provan" , the same can be said.
"Playback" is a nice lite story to ease you into the collection.
All in all, there are some very good short stories contained herein. I would prefer a novel, but these will do. (Edinburgh is not quite so much a presence. Nor is the character development awfully good.)
Boy, did I find the mother lode!! I read this book in one sitting & have ordered the first ten Ian Rankin Rebus books from sellers on Amazon.com. I can't wait to get started with the first in the series, "Knots and Crosses". This book, "A Good Hanging" will get you acquainted with Inspector Rebus of Edinburgh enough to make you want more...good place to start!!
And for those of you who are sick of crime fiction - I am not a fan of crime fiction at all, but I found this book to be extremely well written and clever. And yet crime fiction fans seem to love it too?
Most recent customer reviews
I decided to try to read a Rebus novel after being introduced to the character one night while watching BBCAmerica. Read morePublished on Sept. 6 2003 by Pansori
I have read Rankin's works in chronological order (well actually still having to read the last four because I am not spoiling myself...). Read morePublished on March 26 2003 by ADB
Fairly consistent high quality for a short story collection. If you like Rebus, you are not going to thrown by the change in format.Published on Feb. 3 2002