Monday, October 1, 2012



A Detective Rebus collection. Not a novel, but a collection of 'shorts'. It is one of those books you grab in haste because of the author. Or, you are a really really big fan and need to have everything the author has ever written.
Even though I have enjoyed many Rankin books in the past, I am in the 'haste' category.
I picked this up at a booksale. The booksale where you fill a box for $5. The sale is a mad dash into an overly crowded barn with two rows of tightly packed books. You have to fight your way, with your box, into the melee where you grab anything and everything. You see the name of an author you slightly recognize? You grab it! You see a cover of a book that looks slightly interesting? You grab it! You find the fantasy section? Grab everything! After your box is overflowing, or hitting the fifty pound mark and getting to heavy to carry with one hand (because you need the other hand to grab books and fend of others going through your box), you take the box aside and go through it. This is where you realize you've picked up two copies of the same chic-lit book, book 12 and 15 from the same fantasy series (which you've only read book 1 and 2), and a microwave cookbook which you though by the cover picture was some funny memoir about the 80's. You toss these rejects and head back for want to get your $5 worth, right?!
After you get home and start analyzing your box of books you run across things like A Good Hanging. It was picked up because of the author's name. It made it through the barnyard toss, unlike that microwave cookbook, because it appeared to be a worthwhile novel - a real gem. But, upon closer inspection it turned out to be a collection of short stories. One of those books authors seem to put out to get that last little bit of coin from the most die hard of fans. Unpublished and unfinished sorts of things tend to end up in books like this. If you've ever read anything like this you'll nod your head in agreement that the quality of these things tend to be a bit shoddy. Sometimes there will be an anecdote or two that stick with you for years, but, for the most part it's in one ear and out the other.
What you'll find with A Good Hanging is reminiscent of what Sherlock Holmes' I've read; tiny, one off, mysteries that are quickly solved by that magic piece of evidence or through a tricked confession. For the most part entertaining and interesting to read, but, lack the substance of a novel. What I really found strange was the lack of a sidekick, no Siobhan in this book. All Rebus. As long as you know this going in, you should find this book ok. Not one to write home about, but, solid enough to buy for under a dollar.
And, I believe as intended by Rankin, reading this book made me recall that I really enjoy this Detective Rebus. But, what I really like is the non-crime related part of him, where he hangs out in seedy bars and coerces ratfinks to give him bits of underworld info with a 20 pound note (or an arm twisting). This is the stuff you learn about when you read an entire novel, not just the, I hit up the Rankin section at my library.


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