Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin

I borrowed Standing in Another Man’s Grave from the library and I enjoyed it so much that I was sorry that I didn’t have any unread Rebus books in the house so that I could continue enjoying his company. The book was first published in 2012. Rebus has been forced into retirement but he really doesn’t have any other life outside the police and the pub, particularly Edinburgh’s Oxford Bar.

So he has joined a cold case unit, technically a civilian unit but located within the Edinburgh Police HQ at Fettes Avenue. He would prefer to be doing his old job though and it looks like the cold case unit might even be closed down completely. There are parts of the job which he really enjoys, opening files and sifting through any evidence and old newspapers. Basically they need to solve a high profile case to make the high heidyins think the unit is worthwhile keeping going.

Rebus ends up liasing with the police and working with his old colleague Siobhan Clarke again, a partnership which for me really works. The police might have thought he was past his use by date but he’s a better detective than any of the youngsters involved, they don’t even care about not contaminating murder scenes. I had a good idea of the way this story was going from about half way through but that didn’t spoil my reading experience.

Rebus isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but he’s a favourite with me, I think a lot of the character is bound up with Ian Rankin’s personality too and this book was influenced by the fact that several of Ian Rankin’s friends had died around the time he was writing it. In fact he lost a close friend just 6 months or so ago – the author Iain Banks and this seems to have contributed to his decision to take a year off from writing. In yesterday’s Guardian Rankin wrote about Banks in the My Hero section, you can read it here. So we’ll have to wait longer than usual for his next book. Will Rebus be shelved once and for all or will he find his way back onto the police force? I do hope that we haven’t seen the last of him.

I read this one for the Read Scotland 2014 Challenge, it was my 15th and I’ve already read the 16th, which was a children’s book by Mary Stewart, but more of that later.

Read Scotland 2014

Have you signed up for Peggy Ann’s Read Scotland 2014 Challenge yet? If not then have a wee think about doing it as I’m sure you could read at least 3 or 4 books which would qualify for it without even realising. For instance did you realise that Ian Fleming would fall into the category of Scottish author, and almost all of the children’s classic authors were Scottish or of Scottish descent. Now that Jack has actually retired he is going to do this challenge, his first ever, he should have much more time for reading now, have a look at his post about it here. We will both be doing the Ben Nevis which is 13 books but we’ll end up doing far more than that I’m sure. In fact I think I might manage a purely mythical Jings, crivens and help ma boab category, and if you’ve ever read Oor Wullie you’ll know that those are all words which are used to mean flabbergasted, astonished, for goodness sake! Because I plan to read about 50 books for this challenge.

To begin with I’m reading Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe over the month of January, doing it in four chunks and writing about it each week. Join in with me if you think you’re hard enough! Judith are you still up for it?

At the same time I intend to read Lanark by Alasdair Grey as a respite from Ivanhoe. Lanark was voted the second best Scottish book recently, the first was Irvine Walsh’s Trainspotting but I don’t fancy that one at all. Below is a list of some of the Scottish fiction authors that I’ll definitely be reading during 2014, I’ll be adding more though. Books with a Scottish setting are also eligible for the challenge. Have a look at the Scottish Books Trust for more inspiration.

Iain Banks
William Boyd
John Buchan
Andrew Crumey
Alasdair Grey
A.L. Kennedy
Dennis Mackail
Compton Mackenzie
Allan Massie
James Oswald
Rosamund Pilcher
James Runcie
A.D. Scott
Walter Scott
Mary Stewart
Jessica Stirling
Josephine Tey
Alison Thirkell
Angela Thirkell

If I read just one by all of these writers then I’ll have bagged Ben Nevis and then some, but I still have my non fiction books to look through and list, it looks like 2014 is going to be a very Scottish (parochial) year for me!

Oh and I’ll be writing about some of the many children’s classics which are suitable for this challenge. You’re never too old for a good children’s book. Remember that you don’t have to have a blog to take part in this challenge.

Thanks for setting this up Peggy Ann.

Paperback Writers – Iain Banks

Following the very sad demise of local/Fife author Iain Banks earlier this week, the BBC have aired the Paperback Writer programme which featured him. If you are interested you can hear it here.

You might want to read this Guardian interview too.