Book Review: Ian Rankin’s Standing in Another Man’s Grave

Posted March 11, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Ian Rankin’s Standing in Another Man’s Grave

Standing in Another Man's Grave


Ian Rankin

It is part of the Inspector Rebus #18, series and is a detective mystery, mystery in Hardcover edition that was published by Reagan Arthur Books on 2012 and has 388 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books in this series include A Good Hanging

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Exit Music, The Complaints, Impossible Dead, A Good Hanging, Saints of the Shadow Bible, Even Dogs in the Wild, Rather Be the Devil

Eighteenth in the Detective Inspector Rebus mystery series revolving around ex-DI Rebus in Edinburgh while being third in the Inspector Malcolm Fox mystery series revolving around Rebus’ nemesis in the Complaints.

My Take

I was so not expecting Rankin to pop up with another Rebus book…and I am absolutely thrilled that he did. Rebus had retired in Exit Music, 17, back in 2007, and Rankin has him popping back up as a civilian working with the cold case squad. There’s just a hint of possibility that Rebus may get taken back now that they raised the retirement age…and from the work Rebus does in this story, the Edinburgh police would be nuts not to take him. I am definitely curious as to which way Siobhan ends up swinging. She’s had a bit of time in which to see Page operate, and now it’s back to Rebus’ free wheeling methods which end in results. Hmmm…

It is interesting that Rankin’s newest series, Malcolm Fox, intersects with this. As the names Tony and Joe Naysmith cropped up, I couldn’t figure out why they sounded so familiar until I was checking my notes. Uh-huh, it will be interesting to see what pops in the fourth Malcolm Fox. And if there’s a nineteenth Rebus!

Rankin has certainly left the possibilities open for it.

This particular story leaves me wondering if Rebus is right and it is just ego that’s got Fox ticked off. Especially when there’s such ground opening up under other policemen who should be investigated. Tony definitely has his own questions about Fox’s obsession. Another interesting venue to explore.

The new bad guy whom Rankin has introduced is a new complication, and I’ll be curious to see what Rebus, Clarke, and Cafferty do about him.

I can see where Complaints would be concerned about a cop hobnobbing with a crook, but then again, where else are the cops going to get information?

Oh man, Rebus does have fun with DCI James Page with Led Zeppelin song titles.

Really, it was pretty stupid of Hammell to be so trusting with someone whose family he’s screwed over. Then there’s Dempsey’s attitude. Gimme a break. She’s equating Rebus with every other Tom, Dick, or Harry calling in with tips? When he’s the one who broke it?

You can’t help but love Rebus for all his drinking when he’s the one out getting things accomplished while those above him are more worried about camera face-time, playing groupie, and lunching with the higher-ups. That and he’s taking the piss out of everyone! It’s a different sort of business-as-usual with Rebus, and we’re the richer for it.

The Story

It’s a colder case than usual that finds Rebus pushing people’s bells. One that will tear the socks off a variety of participants and leave Rebus questioning what he truly wants.

The Characters

RETIRED Detective Inspector (DI) John Rebus is working in Serious Crime Review Unit (SCRU), the cold case squad, as a civilian and still enjoying his music. His daughter, Samanatha, is either shacked up or married to Keith, and they’re trying to get pregnant.

The cops at Gayfield Square in Edinburgh include:
DI Siobhan Clarke is doing well for herself. Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) James Page is all for first names and looking good for the cameras. He’s also doing Siobhan. Other cops include Ronnie Ogilvie, Detective Constable (DC) Christine Esson is their computer person, and DC Dave Ormiston has a bit going on the side.

Fellow retired cops in SCRU
Hmmm, do you think there’s a hidden message in that acronym? Detective Sergeant (DS) Daniel Cowan is in charge, and he’s one of those more interested in his own progress rather than case progress. Retired DC Elaine Robison and retired DI Peter Bliss work away at the cases along with Rebus.

The Complaints
Inspector Malcolm Fox wants too badly to catch Rebus at anything while Tony Kaye has his doubts and Joe Naysmith is just along for the ride.

The cops at Northern include:
DCS Gillian Dempsey is reckoned to be brilliant. Gavin Arnold is a flexible cop, even if he’s not so hot at darts.

Nina Hazlitt is bugging Rebus about her daughter Sally who went missing along the A9 back in 1999. Other missing persons include Zoe Beddows.

Annette McKie is the latest to go missing. Her mum, Gail McKie, is devastated. Fortunately, another crime boss, Frank Hammell, is in the wings to support her. Derek Christie is Gail’s ex. Darryl Christie is their eighteen-year-old son, Annette’s older brother. A very quiet, observant lad with big plans. Joseph and Cal are the younger brothers.

DI Gregor Magrath retired some years ago after he started up the Serious Crime Review Unit. Kenny Magrath is his brother and an electrician; Maggie is his loyal wife.

Cafferty is still around and kicking, even though he’s “retired”. He’s quite appreciative of Rebus bringing him back from the dead.

Thomas Robertson has a form and was conveniently placed on the road crew on the A9. Bill Soames is in charge and Stefan Skiladz is the interpreter. Susie Mercer has some useful information as does the farmer, Jim Mellon. Ruby is the cadaver dog. Raymond is Dempsey’s nephew and a journalist.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a metaphor for what it’s all about: hitchhiking down a lonely road.

Oh, no kidding! It opens with a grave and closes with one, with at least one man Standing in Another Man’s Grave.