Inspector John Rebus has messed up badly this time, so badly that he's been sent to a kind of reform school for damaged cops. While there among the last-chancers known as "resurrection men," he joins a covert mission to gain evidence of a drug heist orchestrated by three of his classmates. But the group has been assigned an unsolved murder that may have resulted from Rebus's own mistake. Now Rebus can't determine if he's been set up for a fall or if his disgraced classmates are as ruthless as he suspects.
When Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke discovers that her investigation of an art dealer's murder is tied to Rebus's inquiry, the two-protege and mentor-join forces. Soon they find themselves in the midst of an even bigger scandal than they had imagined-a plot with conspirators in every corner of Scotland and deadly implications about their colleagues.
With the brilliant eye for character and place that earned him the name "the Dickens of Edinburgh," Ian Rankin delivers a page-turning novel of intricate suspense.
About the Author
Ian Rankin is a #1 international bestselling author. Winner of an Edgar Award and the recipient of a Gold Dagger for fiction and the Chandler-Fulbright Award, he lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with his wife and their two sons.
Hometown:Edinburgh, London and France
Date of Birth:April 28, 1960
Place of Birth:Cardenden, Scotland
Read an Excerpt
By Ian Rankin
Copyright © 2002
John Rebus Limited
All right reserved.
"Then why are you here?"
"Depends what you mean," Rebus said.
"Mean?" The woman frowned behind her glasses.
"Mean by 'here,' " he explained. "Here in this room? Here in this
career? Here on the planet?"
She smiled. Her name was Andrea Thomson. She wasn't a doctor - she'd
made that clear at their first meeting. Nor was she a "shrink" or a
"therapist." "Career Analysis" was what it had said on Rebus's daily
2:30-3:15: Career Analysis, Rm 3.16.
With Ms. Thomson. Which had become Andrea at the moment of
introduction. Which was yesterday, Tuesday. A "get to know" session,
she'd called it.
She was in her late thirties, short and large-hipped. Her hair was a
thick mop of blond with some darker streaks showing through. Her
teeth were slightly oversized. She was self-employed, didn't work
for the police full-time.
"Do any of us?" Rebus had asked yesterday. She'd looked a bit
puzzled. "I mean, do any of us work full-time ... that's why we're
here, isn't it?" He'd waved a hand in the direction of the closed
door. "We're not pulling our weight. We need a smack on the wrists."
"Is that what you think you need, Detective Inspector?"
He'd wagged a finger. "Keep calling me that andI'll keep calling
you 'Doc.' "
"I'm not a doctor," she'd said. "Nor am I a shrink, a therapist, or
any other word you've probably been thinking in connection with me."
"Then what are you?"
"I deal with Career Analysis."
Rebus had snorted. "Then you should be wearing a seat belt."
She'd stared at him. "Am I in for a bumpy ride?"
"You could say that, seeing how my career, as you call it, has just
careered out of control."
So much for yesterday.
Now she wanted to know about his feelings. How did he feel about
being a detective?
"I like it."
"All of me." Fixing her with a smile.
She smiled back. "I meant -"
"I know what you meant." He looked around the room. It was small,
utilitarian. Two chrome-framed chairs either side of a teak-veneered
desk. The chairs were covered in some lime-colored material. Nothing
on the desk itself but her legal-sized lined pad and her pen. There
was a heavy-looking satchel in the corner; Rebus wondered if his
file was in there. A clock on the wall, calendar below it. The
calendar had come from the local firehouse. A length of net
curtaining across the window.
It wasn't her room. It was a room she could use on those occasions
when her services were required. Not quite the same thing.
"I like my job," he said at last, folding his arms. Then, wondering
if she'd read anything into the action -defensiveness, say -he
unfolded them again. Couldn't seem to find anything to do with them
except bunch his fists into his jacket pockets. "I like every aspect
of it, right down to the added paperwork each time the office runs
out of staples for the staple gun."
"Then why did you blow up at Detective Chief Superintendent
"I don't know."
"She thinks maybe it has something to do with professional
The laugh burst from him. "She said that?"
"You don't agree?"
"Of course not."
"You've known her some years, haven't you?"
"More than I care to count."
"And she's always been senior to you?"
"It's never bothered me, if that's what you're thinking."
"It's only recently that she's become your commanding officer."
"You've been at DI level for quite some time. No thoughts of
improvement?" She caught his look. "Maybe 'improvement' is the wrong
word. You've not wanted promotion?"
"Might be I'm afraid of responsibility."
She stared at him. "That smacks of a prepared answer."
"Be prepared, that's my motto."
"Oh, you were a Boy Scout?"
"No," he said. She stayed quiet, picking up her pen and studying it.
It was one of those cheap yellow Bics. "Look," he said into the
silence, "I've got no quarrel with Gill Templer. Good luck to her as
a DCS. It's not a job I could do. I like being where I am." He
glanced up. "Which doesn't mean here in this room, it means out on
the street, solving crimes. The reason I lost it is ... well, the way
the whole inquiry's being handled."
"You must have had similar feelings before in the middle of a case?"
She had taken her glasses off so she could rub the reddened skin on
either side of her nose.
"Many a time," he admitted.
She slid the glasses back on. "But this is the first time you've
thrown a mug?"
"I wasn't aiming for her."
"She had to duck. A full mug, too."
"Ever tasted cop-shop tea?"
She smiled again. "So you've no problem then?"
"None." He folded his arms in what he hoped was a sign of
"Then why are you here?"
Time up, Rebus walked back along the corridor and straight into the
men's toilets, where he splashed water on his face, dried off with a
paper towel. Watched himself in the mirror above the sink as he
pulled a cigarette from his packet and lit it, blowing the smoke
One of the lavatories flushed; a door clicked its lock off. Jazz
McCullough came out.
"Thought that might be you," he said, turning on the tap.
"How could you tell?"
"One long sigh followed by the lighting of a cigarette. Had to be a
shrink session finishing."
"She's not a shrink."
"Size of her, she looks like she's shrunk." McCullough reached for a
towel. Tossed it in the bin when he'd finished. Straightened his
tie. His real name was James, but those who knew him seemed never to
call him that. He was Jamesy, or more often Jazz. Tall, mid-forties,
cropped black hair with just a few touches of gray at the temples.
He was thin. Patted his stomach now, just above the belt, as if to
emphasize his lack of a gut. Rebus could barely see his own belt,
even in the mirror.
Jazz didn't smoke. Had a family back home in Broughty Ferry: wife
and two sons about his only topic of conversation. Examining himself
in the mirror, he tucked a stray hair back behind one ear.
"What the hell are we doing here, John?"
"Andrea was just asking me the same thing."
"That's because she knows it's a waste of time. Thing is, we're
paying her wages."
"We're doing some good then."
Jazz glanced at him. "You dog! You think you're in there!"
Rebus winced. "Give me a break. All I meant was ..." But what was
the point? Jazz was already laughing. He slapped Rebus on the
"Back into the fray," he said, pulling open the door. "Three-thirty,
'Dealing with the Public.'"
It was their third day at Tulliallan: the Scottish Police College.
The place was mostly full of recent recruits, learning their lessons
before being allowed out onto public streets. But there were other
officers there, older and wiser. They were on refresher courses, or
learning new skills.
And then there were the Resurrection Men.
The college was based at Tulliallan Castle, not in itself a castle
but a mock-baronial home to which had been added a series of modern
buildings, connected by corridors. The whole edifice sat in huge
leafy grounds on the outskirts of the village of Kincardine, to the
northern side of the Firth of Forth, almost equidistant between
Glasgow and Edinburgh. It could have been mistaken for a university
campus, and to some extent that was its function. You came here to
Or, in Rebus's case, as punishment.
There were four other officers in the seminar room when Rebus and
McCullough arrived. "The Wild Bunch," DI Francis Gray had called
them, first time they'd been gathered together. A couple of faces
Rebus knew -DS Stu Sutherland from Livingston; DI Tam Barclay from
Falkirk. Gray himself was from Glasgow, and Jazz worked out of
Dundee, while the final member of the party, DC Allan Ward, was
based in Dumfries. "A gathering of nations," as Gray had put it. But
to Rebus they acted more like spokesmen for their tribes, sharing
the same language but with different outlooks. They were wary of
each other. It was especially awkward with officers from the same
region. Rebus and Sutherland were both Lothian and Borders, but the
town of Livingston was F Division, known to anyone in Edinburgh as
"F Troop." Sutherland was just waiting for Rebus to say something to
the others, something disparaging. He had the look of a haunted man.
The six men shared only one characteristic: they were at Tulliallan
because they'd failed in some way. Mostly it was an issue with
authority. Much of their free time the previous two days had been
spent sharing war stories. Rebus's tale was milder than most. If a
young officer, fresh out of uniform, had made the mistakes they had
made, he or she would probably not have been given the Tulliallan
lifeline. But these were lifers, men who'd been in the force an
average of twenty years. Most were nearing the point where they
could leave on full pension. Tulliallan was their last-chance
saloon. They were here to atone, to be resurrected.
As Rebus and McCullough took their seats, a uniformed officer walked
in and marched briskly to the head of the oval table where his chair
was waiting. He was in his mid-fifties and was here to remind them
of their obligation to the public at large. He was here to train
them to mind their p's and q's.
Five minutes into the lecture, Rebus let his eyes and mind drift out
of focus. He was back on the Marber case ...
Edward Marber had been an Edinburgh art and antiques dealer. Past
tense, because Marber was now dead, bludgeoned outside his home by
assailant or assailants unknown. The weapon had not yet been found.
A brick or rock was the best guess offered by the city pathologist,
Professor Gates, who had been called to the scene for a PLE:
Pronouncement of Life Extinct. Brain hemorrhage brought on by the
blow. Marber had died on the steps of his Duddingston Village home,
front-door keys in his hand. He had been dropped off by taxi after
the private viewing night of his latest exhibition: New Scottish
Colorists. Marber owned two small, exclusive galleries in the New
Town, plus antiques shops in Dundas Street, Glasgow, and Perth.
Rebus had asked someone why Perth, rather than oil-rich Aberdeen.
"Because Perthshire's where the wealth goes to play."
The taxi driver had been interviewed. Marber didn't drive, but his
house was at the end of an eighty-meter driveway, the gates to which
had been open. The taxi had pulled up at the door, activating a
halogen light to one side of the steps. Marber had paid and tipped,
asking for a receipt, and the taxi driver had U-turned away, not
bothering to look in his mirror.
"I didn't see a thing," he'd told the police.
The taxi receipt had been found in Marber's pocket, along with a
list of the sales he'd made that evening, totaling just over
£16,000. His cut, Rebus learned, would have been twenty percent,
£3,200. Not a bad night's work.
It was morning before the body was found by the postman. Professor
Gates had given an estimated time of death of between nine and
eleven the previous evening. The taxi had picked Marber up from his
gallery at eight-thirty, so must have dropped him home around eight
forty-five, a time the driver accepted with a shrug.
The immediate police instinct had screamed robbery, but problems and
niggles soon became apparent. Would someone have clobbered the
victim with the taxi still in sight, the scene lit by halogen? It
seemed unlikely, and yet by the time the taxi turned out of the
driveway, Marber should have been safely on the other side of his
door. And though Marber's pockets had been turned out, cash and
credit cards evidently taken, the attacker had failed to use the
keys to unlock the front door and trawl the house itself. Scared off
perhaps, but it still didn't make sense.
Muggings tended to be spontaneous. You were attacked on the street,
maybe just after using a cash machine. The mugger didn't hang around
your door waiting for you to come home. Marber's house was
relatively isolated: Duddingston Village was a wealthy enclave on
the edge of Edinburgh, semi-rural, with the mass of Arthur's Seat as
its neighbor. The houses hid behind walls, quiet and secure. Anyone
approaching Marber's home on foot would have triggered the same
halogen security light. They would then have had to hide -in the
undergrowth, say, or behind one of the trees. After a couple of
minutes, the lamp's timer would finish its cycle and go off. But any
movement would trigger the sensor once again.
The Scene of Crime officers had looked for possible hiding places,
finding several. But no traces of anyone, no footprints or fibers.
Another scenario, proposed by DCS Gill Templer:
"Say the assailant was already inside the house. Heard the door
being unlocked and ran towards it. Smashed the victim on the head
But the house was high-tech: alarms and sensors everywhere. There
was no sign of a break-in, no indication that anything was missing.
Marber's best friend, another art dealer called Cynthia Bessant, had
toured the house and pronounced that she could see nothing missing
or out of place, except that much of the deceased's art collection
had been removed from the walls and, each painting neatly packaged
in bubble wrap, was stacked against the wall in the dining room.
Bessant had been unable to offer an explanation.
"Perhaps he was about to reframe them, or move them to different
rooms. One does get tired of the same paintings in the same spots ..."
She'd toured every room, paying particular attention to Marber's
bedroom, not having seen inside it before. She called it his "inner
The victim himself had never been married, and was quickly assumed
by the investigating officers to have been gay.
"Eddie's sexuality," Cynthia Bessant had said, "can have no bearing
on this case."
But that would be something for the inquiry to decide.
Rebus had felt himself sidelined in the investigation, working the
telephones mostly. Cold calls to friends and associates. The same
questions eliciting almost identical responses. The bubble-wrapped
paintings had been checked for fingerprints, from which it became
apparent that Marber himself had packaged them up. Still no one -
neither his secretary nor his friends -could give an explanation.
Then, towards the end of one briefing, Rebus had picked up a mug of
tea -someone else's tea, milky gray -and hurled it in the general
direction of Gill Templer.
The briefing had started much as any other, Rebus washing down three
aspirin caplets with his morning latte. The coffee came in a paper
cup. It was from a concession on the corner of the Meadows. Usually
his first and last decent cup of the day.
"Bit too much to drink last night?" DS Siobhan Clarke had asked.
She'd run her eyes over him: same suit, shirt and tie as the day
before. Probably wondering if he'd bothered to take any of it off
between-times. The morning shave erratic, a lazy runover with an
electric. Hair that needed washing and cutting.
She'd seen just what Rebus had wanted her to see.
"And a good morning to you too, Siobhan," he'd muttered to himself,
crushing the empty beaker.
Excerpted from Resurrection Men
by Ian Rankin
Copyright © 2002 by John Rebus Limited .
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This one was a little different from some of the other Rebus books in that Rebus gets himself into trouble early on and is sent to Tulliallan, a police college, for retraining. This is one of my favorite Rebus books.
a new author for me and one I will check out other titles for.
13 isn't an unlucky number for Ian Rankin. Resurrection Men, the 13th John Rebus novel, is one of his best. Sad for me now, as I have read all of the series, and I hate to say good-bye. Perhaps Exit Music is not the last. There are so many good characters in the Rebus series that surely one of them (Siobhan?) can carry on, with Rebus making some appearances.
Though he knows he should never have displayed his anger by tossing the coffee cup in front of his boss DCS Gill Templar, Edinburgh Inspector John Rebus finds the remedy for his short temper quite embarrassing. Gill has enrolled John in the Scottish Police College along side several other RESURRECTION MEN. The superiors of those attending this syllabus hope that some of these rogue officers learn teamwork. However, the assignment that the class works on together leaves John wondering if he is set up to take a hit or is he really to go undercover and find out whether his fellow disgraced pupils are on the take. Meanwhile Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke discovers that her investigation of the art dealer's murder that led to the coffee cup incident is tied to Rebus's investigation as well as a strange connection to a crime boss. John and Siobhan soon see their cases merging and join the ranks to solve both of them. It is ionic that this solid Rebus police procedural is well written but not quite at the great level of most of the previous novels in the series, yet is one of the better sub-genre entries. RESURRECTION MEN proves how talented Ian Rankin is as Rebus fans will appreciate the effort and newcomers will search for other novels by the author. Rebus remains an ornery delight as his regret for tossing the mug is not having done it in private. Though the second half of the story line seems wordy, the rank and file will relish an entertainingly vigorous investigative novel. Harriet Klausner
Another excellent novel. Also enjoy the humor.
Rebus has misbehaved and been sent away for "retraining." Or is the retraining for another purpose altogether? And is anyone ever going to let Rebus know what is actually going on? Rankin's dialogue is usually top-notch, but it really shines in this installment of the series - the police banter might as well be verbatim quotes from actual cops and "the boys" sometimes had me in stitches, even though the subject matter was quite serious. Great mystery, great descriptions, great characters - quite possibly my favorite of the series.
Highly recommend - character development is fantastic.
I had been wanting to read something by Ian Rankin for some time, as he seems to be one of Scotland's leading writers of mysteries. This book is said to be one of the best in his Inspector Rebus series, but I found it a bit of a slog. There doesn't seem to be much joy among Scottish police and detectives -- a life of work and drink.The atmosphere is urban and gritty, and very little fun.
An interesting mystery with the inner skirmishes in Scotland police department depicted realistically.A story of rogue cops,double crossing,loyalty,shady characters,all these make it an interesting read.The pace do drop at some places but you have to be patient and the novel at the end do not disappoint.
Book barrels along, grabbing the reader. The ending is definitely not expected. Seems a bit abrupt.
I violated one of my basic rules of neurosis by skipping FIVE books in the Inspector Rebus series. I suffered for it too, by this vague feeling that there were things I had missed out on. It isn¿t Rankin¿s fault: he purposely designs his books so that each can stand alone. I skipped ahead to this book, number thirteen in the series, because I have other fish to fry, and because this particular book won the 2004 Edgar Award for best mystery novel. Resurrection Men begins at Tulliallan, the Scottish Police College, where Rebus has been sent with five other miscreants for insubordination. ¿Tulliallan,¿ Rankin writes, ¿was their last-chance saloon. They were here to atone, to be resurrected.¿ We know something is up, however, because we can guess Rebus wouldn¿t mean to throw a tea mug at his supervisor Gill Templar, since they used to be in a relationship and have remained close. Plus, the blurb on the back of the book gives it all away by telling us it¿s a ruse so that Rebus can do undercover work. Why, why, why must book blurbers be so blabby? In any event, Rebus is to try and ferret out if the others in his ¿detention hall¿ are actually ¿bent,¿ or dirty cops. To find out, he must revisit some old, unsolved cases, and take on some rather nasty characters. And he must make what he considers to be a pact with the devil, denying himself (as he says) his own chance for the more important resurrection when his life is over.Simultaneously, or in alternate chapters to be exact, Rebus¿s colleague and apparent heir when he retires, the very likeable Detective Sergeant Siobhan (pronounced Shiv-awn) Clarke, continues her work on a case with which the two of them were involved before this special assignment came up. Rebus and Siobhan confer regularly by telephone, and it soon dawns on them that their missions are converging. And as they get closer to the truth, they also become targets. (Of course.)Evaluation: The plot is complex with lots of characters, but there is plenty of explanation and cross-referencing, so that even I could follow ¿ without a notepad! - who was who and what was going on. I wasn¿t blown away by this book, but felt it to be a solid contribution to the genre.
Always a good read for both men and women.
Although Siobhan gets equal time much will be learned about both Don't let the large cast of characters put you off, this Edgar Winner is masterly written - enjoy!