Black and Blue – Ian Rankin

About Black and Blue

Published: 13th January 1997 (Orion)Black & Blue

Rebus is juggling four cases trying to nail one killer – who might just lead back to the infamous Bible John. And he’s doing it under the scrutiny of an internal inquiry led by a man he has just accused of taking backhanders from Glasgow’s Mr Big.

As if this wasn’t enough, there are TV cameras at his back investigating a miscarriage of justice, making Rebus a criminal in the eyes of a million or more viewers.

Just one mistake is likely to mean an unpleasant and not particularly speedy death or, worse still, losing his job.

My Review

Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger, this novel cemented Ian Rankin’s status as the gold standard of British crime –

Shock….Horror….this is actually my first Ian Rankin novel….but definitely won’t be the last. This was one of those series that I was fully aware of, wanted to start but just hadn’t got around to it.

Black and Blue was originally published in 1997 so this is a nostalgic crime investigation relying on police gut instinct based upon the facts presented to them and (much!) less forensics supporting them in their theories.

This novel is a chunky one but it needs to be as Rebus isn’t investigating just one murder, but four! The investigation also takes Rebus across Scotland and deep into the Scottish oil industry (which I presume was very topical at the time). There are a number tightly interwoven strands to this book which Rankin expertly handles with seamless narrative with likeable characters.

I did read this as a standalone with no issues but I suspect that you would benefit from having read the first 7 books and understanding where Rebus has come from as he’s clearly a man that attracts trouble! In this instalment, as if the official police investigations aren’t enough, he is also fighting to clear his name following accusations that he helped ‘stitch up’ a suspect in a previous investigation leading to his conviction.

A brilliant (and nostalgic!) police procedural with Scottish edge and a gritty protagonist! My first Rankin, but not my last!

About Ian Rankin

Photo: Hamish Brown

Ian Rankin was born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel was published in 1987, and the Rebus books are now translated into thirty-six languages and are bestsellers worldwide. Ian Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He is the recipient of four Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards including the prestigious Diamond Dagger in 2005. In 2004, Ian won America’s celebrated Edgar Award for Resurrection Men. He has also been shortlisted for the Anthony Award in the USA, won Denmark’s Palle Rosenkrantz Prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir and the Deutscher Krimipreis. Ian Rankin is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Abertay, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Hull and the Open University.A contributor to BBC2’s Newsnight Review, he also presented his own TV series, Ian Rankin’s Evil Thoughts. Rankin is a number one bestseller in the UK and has received the OBE for services to literature, opting to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh, where he lives with his partner and two sons.

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