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Issue 39 - Thekingoftartannoir

Whisky Magazine Issue 39
May 2004

 

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Thekingoftartannoir

IanRankin'scelebrateddetectiveJohnRebusisahardtalkingwhiskyman.JeffersonChaseintroduceshimtoanewaudience

Britishreaderswon'tneedmuchofanintroductiontoIanRankinandhisalteregodetectivechiefinspectorJohnRebus.TheRebusseriesisnotonlyafixtureinthebestsellerlists;severalinstalmentshavealsobeenfilmedfortelevisiondramas.

ButtheRankinbandwagonisonlyjuststartingtogetrollingoutsidetheUnitedKingdom,andI'dliketojumponitandbeatthedrumforthistalentedScotsman,describedbyAmericancrimewriterandviolenceaddictJamesEllroyasthekingof‘tartannoir'

Tartannoir?Wellyes.RebusisEdinburghthroughandthough,andthatincludes,ofcourse,atasteforsinglemalts,preferablyinthatcity'sOxfordBar.

InTheFalls,oneofRankin'smorerecentworks,Rebusspendsagoodportionofthenovelinvariousstatesofinebriationandeventurnsupdrunkatoneofthemainsuspects'apartment.

RebushadacceptedablackcoffeefromDavidCostello,poppedtwoparacetemolfromtheirfoilshroudandwashedthemdown.Middleofthe
night,butCostellohadn'tbeenasleep.He'dmadeforanoff-licenceatsomepoint:thebagwaslyingonthefloor,thehalf-bottleofBell'ssittingnotfarfromit,topmissingbutonlyacoupleofdecentmeasuresdown.Itwasanon-drinker'sideaofhowyouhandledacrisis–youdrankwhisky,butyouhadtobuysomefirst,andnopointlashingoutonawholebottle.

Asyoucansee,TheFallsistightlyplotted–inbothsensesoftheword.

Thestoryrevolvesaroundthemurderofayoungheiressanduniversitystudent,whichmayormaynotbelinkedtobothacreepy,puzzle-solvinggameplayedviatheinternetandacreepierseriesofmurdersdatingbackdecadesor,possibly,centuries.Butaswithallgreatdetectivewriters,youdon'treadRankinprimarilyfortheplot,butfortheatmosphere...

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