A Good Hanging and Other Stories

Ian Rankin

Orion 1998
A book review by Danny Yee © 2004 http://dannyreviews.com/
A Good Hanging contains a dozen short stories set in Edinburgh and involving Inspector Rebus. They're a mixed bunch, but improve as the collection progresses: some of the early stories hinge on clues that are signalled so obviously it's impossible not to notice them, while the later ones have more substance to them, with development of character and setting.

Though there's a twist to it, "Sunday" describes one of Rebus' days off, giving us a glimpse of his life at home. None of the stories approach "thriller" level, but some achieve real tension — when a juror goes investigating by himself in the wrong end of town, for example. The stories range from the depressing — a sad tale of a bourgeois daughter — and lowlife — a story about a peeping tom in a tenement block — to the lighthearted — in the closing "Monstrous Trumpet" Rebus has to entertain a visiting French policeman and solve a high society art heist.

Rankin seems strongest in areas that aren't a good fit for the short story and would be better treated in a novel. And on the basis of A Good Hanging I'm prepared to try one of his novels.

November 2004

External links:
- buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
Related reviews:
- books about Scotland + Scottish history
- more detective fiction
- more short fiction
%T A Good Hanging and Other Stories
%A Rankin, Ian
%I Orion
%D 1998 [1992]
%O paperback
%G ISBN 0752809431
%P 253pp