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  • Rankin, Ian
  • Raphael, Lev
  • Reichs, Kathleen J.
  • Rendell, Ruth
  • Reynolds, Marjorie
  • Richman, Phyllis
  • Ridpath, Michael
  • Rinehart, Mary Roberts
  • Riordan, Rick
  • Ripley, Ann
  • Robb, Candace
  • Roberts, Gillian
  • Robinson, Kevin
  • Robinson, Lynda S.
  • Robinson, Peter
  • Rohmer, Sax
  • Roosevelt, Elliott
  • Rosenberg, Nancy Taylor
  • Rosenberg, Robert
  • Ross, Kate
  • Rowland, Laura Joh
  • Rozan, S.J.
  • Rubino, Jane
  • Rucka, Greg
  • Rule, Ann
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    $6.75 $4.57 list($7.50)
    1. A Dedicated Man (Inspector Banks
    $6.29 $4.42 list($6.99)
    2. Hide and Seek (Dead Letter Mysteries)
    $6.29 $4.33 list($6.99)
    3. Mortal Causes (An Inspector Rebus
    $6.75 $3.25 list($7.50)
    4. Tooth and Nail (Detective John
    $6.29 $3.95 list($6.99)
    5. Resurrection Men : An Inspector
    $15.61 $11.45 list($22.95)
    6. Till the End of Tom (Amanda Pepper
    $6.29 $4.59 list($6.99)
    7. Strip Jack (Strip Jack)
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    8. The Falls : An Inspector Rebus
    $6.75 $4.85 list($7.50)
    9. Past Reason Hated: An Inspector
    $16.50 $3.00 list($25.00)
    10. The Babes in the Wood: A Chief
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    11. The Dragon King's Palace (A Sano
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    12. The Black Book
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    13. Shinju
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    14. The Plot Thickens
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    15. The Perfumed Sleeve : A Novel
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    16. The Hanging Garden (An Inspector
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    17. From Doon with Death
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    18. Close to Home: A Novel of Suspense
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    19. The Babes in the Wood (Vintage
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    20. Wolf to the Slaughter (Chief Inspector

    1. A Dedicated Man (Inspector Banks Mysteries (Paperback))
    by Peter Robinson
    list price: $7.50
    our price: $6.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0380716453
    Catlog: Book (1992-08-01)
    Publisher: Avon
    Sales Rank: 39054
    Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A dedicated man is dead in the Yorkshire dales -- a former university professor, wealthy historian and archaeologist who loved his adopted village. It is a particularly heinous slaying, considering the esteem in which the victim, Harry Steadman, was held by his neighbors and colleagues -- by everyone, it seems, except the one person who bludgeoned the life out of the respected scholar and left him half-buried in a farmer's field.

    Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks left the violence of London behind for what he hoped would be the peaceful life of a country policeman. But the brutality of Steadman's murder only reinforces one ugly, indisputable truth: that evil can flourish in even the most bucolic of settings. There are dangerous secrets hidden in the history of this remote Yorkshire community that have already led to one death. And Banks will have to plumb a dark and shocking local past to find his way to a killer before yesterday's sins cause more blood to be shed. ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just a Very Entertaining Book
    All of the Banks books are very entertaining. When you have time to kill or want a good British mystery - that are painless to read - these are great books.

    I am always on the lookout for a new Robinson book and give them as gifts.

    Five starts definitely.

    Jack in Toronto.

    5-0 out of 5 stars traditional, unchallenging British mystery
    When the body of local historian Harry Steadman is found buried beneath a dry-stone wall near the village of Helmthorpe, Chief Inspector Alan Banks finds himself presented with a extremely puzzling case. And why is it puzzling? Because, aside from a minor disagreement with his friend and local farmer over his selling of some lad, Harry was invariably liked y everybody, ad even that minor inconsequential argument was no reason to kill somebody. Harry was a kind, thoughtful, and respected man, whom everyone liked and about whom no one can find a bad word to say. There seems to be absolutely no motive for his murder. And yet, buried somewhere, there must be one'

    Then, Sally Lumb, a local teenager whom Banks suspects of knowing more than she is telling, alarmingly disappears'

    Very much an English 'cosy' in the tradition of writers like Ann Granger, this is another success for Peter Robinson. There seems to be nothing exceptionally challenging in these early novels, but they're very enjoyable reads. Robinson writes good prose, and structures his mysteries excellently. He develops his characters well, even if they themselves are nothing out of the ordinary. Banks is an excellent lead, very real and with a dry humour there is definitely something of Morse in him. But, it would be nice if we got to meet his family a bit more pretty soon'

    Anyone who likes a nice, traditional, well-crafted and satisfying British mystery is guaranteed to like the books of Peter Robinson.

    5-0 out of 5 stars British police procedural
    When Harry Steadman is murdered, Inspector Alan Banks and his officers are called in to find the killer. Because the murdered man was a genial professor, Banks has a great deal of difficulty finding anyone who might be a suspect. Everyone seemed to genuinely like Harry Steadman. When a young girl is murdered because of what she knows, the search intensifies and when the murderer is unmasked, everyone is stunned. The second mystery in Peter Robinson's series features an interesting mystery and an appealing main character.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A dedicated policeman
    Second books are often a bit like second musical albums after big debuts. Good, but somehow lacking the magic of the first effort. That's how I feel about "A Dedicated Man". I really debated between giving it three or four stars.

    It easily earns three stars as an least average British police procedural. The writing is competent. The clues (or lack thereof) all make sense in in the end. It gets another half star for its many thoughtful observations of the Yorkshire environment - both the landscape and the mentality of the people. I'm pretty much rounding up the score after that. I like Banks and plan to keep reading the series which has received considerable praise in recent years. Still, I haven't found anything so fascinating that I'm going to recommending the book or series to friends---yet.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent mystery and a fascinating character study.
    Peter Robinson is that most rare of mystery writers. He is not satisfied with a corpse, a detective and some clues. Robinson creates a complete world with three-dimensional characters who come alive for the reader. In "A Dedicated Man," the shrewd and dogged Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks investigates the death of Harry Steadman. Harry was a former university professor, a man with no enemies who studied local history for fun. Yet someone hated Harry enough to brutally murder him and dump his body in the Yorkshire dales. For quite a while, Banks is completely stymied. He questions Harry's widow and his small circle of friends, but Banks makes little progress. Only after relentless digging and after the death of a second victim does Banks come up with the solution to the crime. It turns out that Harry's life and those of his friends are not as straightforward and uncomplicated as they had at first seemed. What is wonderful about Robinson is that he makes police work look as tedious and difficult as it really is. It is clear that without relentless and time-consuming detective work on the part of Banks and his colleagues, they would solve few crimes. Robinson, along with Rendell and James, is a superb writer of novels that also happen to be first-rate mysteries. ... Read more


    2. Hide and Seek (Dead Letter Mysteries)
    by Ian Rankin
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312963971
    Catlog: Book (1997-12-01)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    Sales Rank: 20062
    Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    At night the summer sky stays light over Edinburgh. But in a shadowy, crumbling housing development, a junkie lies dead of an overdose, his bruised body surrounded by signs of Satanic worship. John Rebus could call the death and accident--but won't. Instead, he tracks down a violent-tempered young woman who knew the dead boy and heard him cry out his terrifyng last words: "Hide! Hide!" Now, with the help of a bright, conflicted young detective, Rebus is following the girl through a brutal world of bad deals, bad dope and bad company. From a beautiful city's darkest side to the private sanctums of the upper crust, Rebus is seeking the perfect hiding place for a killer.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars On hunting a modern-day Mr. Hyde.
    He had wanted to update Robert Louis Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" for modern times, Ian Rankin writes about his first Inspector Rebus novel, "Knots and Crosses" in the introduction to the 1999 British compilation "Rebus: The Early Years" (unfortunately not available in the U.S.), which contains the first three installments of the series. Oblivious to the mere existence of such a thing as the mystery genre - or so Rankin says - he was stunned to soon hear his book described first and foremost as a crime novel. But eventually this characterization prompted him to have a closer look at the work of other mystery writers, and he found that the form suited his purposes just fine; that in fact he "could say everything [he] wanted to say about the world, and still give readers a pacy, gripping narrative."

    Bearing in mind the original duality of Jekyll and Hyde, however, Rankin's tales are not dominated by a contrast painted in black and white. While the villains Inspector Rebus faces are certainly every bit as evil as Stevenson's Mr. Hyde, Rebus himself is far from a clean-slated "good guy:" Divorced, cynical, hard-drinking and a former member of the SAS, he is a brother in spirit to every noir detective from Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade and Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe to Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, James Ellroy's squad of crooked cops and Peter Robinson's Alan Banks. Nor is Rebus's Edinburgh the touristy town of Calton Hill, castle and Summer Festival (although the series has meanwhile sparked real-life guided tours to its most famous locations, too) - as befitting a true detective of his ilk, Rankin's antihero moves primarily in the city's dark and dirty underbelly, which is populated by society's losers and where those who have "made it," those with money in their pockets, only show up if they have shady deals to conduct as well.

    The title of Rankin's second Rebus novel, "Hide and Seek," is an even more overt play on Robert Louis Stevenson's famous dual character(s) than the mere juxtaposition of cop and killer in "Knots and Crosses;" and when the villain's identity is finally unveiled, the parallels between this book and Stevenson's become even more obvious. Here, Rebus is on the hunt for the killer of a junkie whose half-naked body is found in a run-down, deserted building in the Pilmuir housing estates - the worst part of town, notwithstanding a nearby construction project involving high-priced luxury condominiums - positioned crucifixion-style and near a drawing possibly hinting at Satanic rituals. And Rebus's only witness seems to be the young woman who had been living with the dead man for the last three months and heard him yell "Hide!" before pushing her out of the door, telling her: "They've murdered me;" but who is now more than just a little reluctant to cooperate, taking refuge, instead, behind an almost unbreakable rebel-against-society-facade, complete with peroxide hair, stud earrings and Attitude with a capital "A."

    While this series had a terrific start already in its first two novels, published in 1987 and 1991, Rebus's character - and Rankin's writing - has evolved significantly over time. Thus, it is probably wise to read it in the order of publication. Contrary to the novels he wrote under the pseudonym Jack Harvey, however, and which he views much more critically in hindsight, Ian Rankin overall still seems to be happy with his early Rebus books, commenting: "I can't read them without thinking back to my own early years, my apprenticeship as a crime writer. Read and enjoy." I have nothing to add to that ...

    4-0 out of 5 stars I Hate Ian Rankin...
    ...because now I have a new obsession: Inspector Rebus mysteries. I can't remember the last time I was so immediately involved in a series; so thoroughly taken with a character and his creator; so fixated on catching up on the past decade's worth of stories. There's great writing here, terrific characterizations, sly humor...and the whodunit aspect does not disappoint. And that goes for all the Rebus books. Well done, Mr. Rankin.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ian Rankin Paints With Words...
    There are two sides of Edinburgh, Scotland. There's the side that tourists see: the city of Grayfriar's Bobby, of the annual Summer Festival, of the quaint pubs and the scenic castle sitting on a hill called Arthur's Throne. Then there's the other side of Edinburgh, the domain of Detective Inspector John Rebus. This Edinburgh is one of boarded up housing tenements inhabited by the hopeless, a city of AIDS ridden junkies and prostitutes, of deals made in back alleys at midnight amid violence and sometimes death.

    Inspector Rebus is sent to investigate what appears to be a junkie's death in an abandoned housing estate. The man's body is laid out spread-eagle with Satanic symbols and candles decorating the room. While the other cops are convinced it's just another all-too-familiar overdose victim, Rebus gets the inkling there is more to it than meets the eye. A young female witness is found and tells Rebus that the last words the dead man said were "Hide! Hide!". Assisted by his protegé, Rebus explores the dark side of Edinburgh, seeking justice for a young man too easily dismissed both in life and in death.

    Ian Rankin is the best mystery writer I've ever read. The character of Inspector John Rebus is melancholy, brooding, cynical, funny, intelligent, a workaholic and a perfectionist. He's both addicted and repelled by his work. Being a copper has absorbed his entire life. Rankin's style has been described as "Tartan Noir" and the label is fitting. But to think this book and the series it's part of are dreary would be a mistake. Rankin takes the reader to the depths of dark grittiness, then surprises with bright flashes of humor. Watch for tongue in cheek touches, such as a detective named Holmes and a superior named Watson. Do yourself a good turn and read not only HIDE & SEEK, but the entire Inspector Rebus series.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Thoughts
    This is the first Ian Rankin book I have read and I choose it because my English class all had to choose a Scottish text to read and review...so I thought I'd give it ago. I thought the book was extremly well written and described and I could imagine how each of the charcters were acting. I could hardly put the book down because I was wanting to read on and how it all ended...This is a must read book if u like a simple but extremly effective murder mystery.....its easy going and great!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Hide & Seek -my thoughts
    This is the first Ian Rankin biik I have read and I choose it because my English class all had to choose a Scottish text to read and review...so I thought I'd give it ago. I thought the book was extremly well written and described and I could imagine how each of the charcters were acting. I could hardly put the book down because I was wanting to read on and how it all ended...This is a must read book if u like a simple but extremly effective murder mystery..... ... Read more


    3. Mortal Causes (An Inspector Rebus Novel)
    by Ian Rankin
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312960948
    Catlog: Book (1997-01-15)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
    Sales Rank: 35877
    Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In Edinburgh you're never far from a peaceful spot, or from a hellish one either. Now, in the heart of summer, in the midst of a nationalist festival, Inspector John Rebus is on the murder case of a young man left hanging in a spot where his screams would never be heard. To find the victim's identity--and his killer--Rebus searches from Edinburgh's most violent neighborhood to Belfast, Northern Ireland--amongst petty thugs, gunrunners, and heavyweight criminals. But before Rebus can get to the truth, he's bloodied by the dream of society's madmen--and staring into the glint of a killer's eyes.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Rankin at his finest
    I have to admit that I am an Ian Rankin junkie. I have never been much of a murder-mystery devotee, but Rankin has a way with drama and putting characters together within the Edinburgh context that is exceptional. Mortal Causes is one of my favorite Rankin mysteries because it breaks away from many of his typical roles. Inspector Rebus is not called on the carpet, as usual, he is hard on the case, and we have the chance to see a bit of his own personal history. This novel is an 'easy read' and I found it thoroughly delightful.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Nice Yarn
    It's a good thing that Inspector Rebus is so smart. Otherwise, drinking too much and losing every fight he gets into would surely do him in. When a brutally murdered body turns up during the Edinburgh Festival, Rebus starts our tour of the city's seamier underside. There are more than enough additional murders, beatings, pubs, slums, betrayals, and manipulations to satisfy any mystery fan. The story is taut, well-paced, and peopled by memorable, well-developed characters. Although there was a bit too much impenetrable British slang for my taste, it certainly adds credibility and color to the tale. Pour yourself a single-malt, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Troubles In Edinburgh
    After a particularly gruesome murder is discovered during Edinburgh's Fringe Festival, Inspector John Rebus is seconded to the elite Scottish Crime Squad. The reason for this is that aspects of the murder make it appear that a terrorist group was responsible and Rebus's previous SAS experience would come in handy. The investigation takes him from his home base to the villages of rural Scotland and across to Belfast and back again.

    Throughout the book, the Catholic versus Protestant problem is continually raised, comparing Scotland to the Troubles in Northern Ireland and suggesting that the same uprising could be imminent. While the characters were discussing terrorist organisations there were enough three letter acronyms being bandied about to make me think I might have stumbled into a Microsoft manual.

    Once again we are treated to the bare bones of Edinburgh's back streets and dingy estates that have fallen into ruin. Rebus is as inscrutable and removed from his fellow officers as ever, yet, at least for me, he is becoming more and more likable. I feel this series is getting more and more enjoyable with every book I read, this one is no exception.

    5-0 out of 5 stars mortal causes
    well where to start,again rankin astuonds me with his talent.The plots always twist and turn but never to the extreme of you losing the thread, beatifully deep rich characters with a high sense of realism. I first discover rebus series a few years and now it's worse than a bad coke habit, when you "score" a new novel you just want to be left alone to devour it. must be at least on par with james ellory. if you enjoy police books then this must be the best contempory series come on ian , we want more

    4-0 out of 5 stars A good detective story, rich in details
    I read this book after returning from 2 weeks in Scotland. Rankin is an excellent writer with a good eye for detail. I found his descriptions of Edinburgh very true-to-life and they added an extra element to a strong plot. The inspectors drinking binges and hangovers get a little boring, but that is a small weakness in an otherwise rewarding read. ... Read more


    4. Tooth and Nail (Detective John Rebus Novels)
    by Ian Rankin
    list price: $7.50
    our price: $6.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312958781
    Catlog: Book (1996-05-01)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    Sales Rank: 30811
    Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Sent to London to help catch a vicious serial killer, Inspector John Rebus teams up with a beautiful psychologist to piece together a portrait of a depraved psychopath bent on painting the town red-with blood...
    ... Read more

    Reviews (8)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A good Serial Killer Mystery
    This was my first Inspector Rebus mystery and I shall certainly read more.

    The main character, Inspector Rebus, is a self-effacing Scot sent to London as an "expert" on serial killers (he certainly would not describe himself as such). As he hunts for the gory killer, he faces prejudice of the locals, a love interest and his daughter (by divorced wife) dating a criminal.

    The mystery is a good one. The serial killer mutilates his victims but, unlike some other authors, this is not a major theme. It is raised, but not dwelled upon - leaving more to the imagination and fewer pages devoted to gore.

    The author's descriptive passages are his strongest writing. The description of the autopsy is unforgettable, yet he again does not dwell on long passages of grossness or gore. He concentrates on the perceptions being experienced by the good Inspector.

    Inspector Rebus is thoroughly likeable. He is human, fallible and uncertain in many of the steps he takes. Yet he pursues hunches and acts on reflex, sometimes to his detriment. His relationship with the lead London inspector, George Flight, is described realistically through all its ups and downs.

    I found this to be a very well-written book with characters who were believable and likeable. I generally hesitate to read serial killer mysteries because so many use excessive gore to make up for thin plotlines. This book had a very good plot/mystery and excellent writing. I strongly recommend it to mystery lovers.

    4-0 out of 5 stars I Hate Ian Rankin...
    ...because now I have a new obsession: Inspector Rebus mysteries. I can't remember the last time I was so immediately involved in a series; so thoroughly taken with a character and his creator; so fixated on catching up on the past decade's worth of stories. There's great writing here, terrific characterizations, sly humor...and the whodunit aspect does not disappoint. And that goes for all the Rebus books. Well done, Mr. Rankin.

    5-0 out of 5 stars remarkable
    this may be one of the earliest Rebus novels, but it is without shadow of a doubt one of the best. Ian Rankin here presentes an excellent serial killer novel, published around the time when the sub-genre itself was really on it's infancy. (After all, there weren't all that many serial killer novels around in 1991) It's a very assured, seasoned, mature novel, somewhat before it's time.

    Rebus is a great character, and here his development continues. However, we are presented with a great twist to the normal formula here...Rebus has been sent to London to work on a case, and the fish-out-of-water effect really works very well. Instead of the in-depth and realistic descriptions of Edinburgh, we now see London through Rebus, a visitors eyes, and Rankin proves that his evocations of place are not merely limited to Edinburgh. He describes London excellently, and observing Rebus wandering round the city like a lost soul (until he realises that, in terms of problems, London is basically the same as his home turf, when he seems to get more comfortable with the place) is really interesting.

    The plot is great, and it twists and turns subtly but excellently, with Rankin misleading the reader like an illusionst all the way to the end as to the real identity of the killer. He shocks and surprises again and again, until a brilliantly exciting climax, a car chase through the busy streets of London.

    Along the way, Rebus meets some brilliant characters, several of whom i would love to see again in the future. George Flight, his opposite number in London, is a wonderfully drawn creation. He is a likeable man, and a great copper. He is darawn well, and i liked the way Rankin shied away from the cliche of making him an unlikeable, difficult to work with, arrogant and not very good police-officer. Instead, we are prsented with a policeman equal to Rebus in ability, whose talents compliment each other well. Another great character is Liza Frazer, the young psychologist who volunteers to help Rebus draw up a profile of the killer.

    All in all, this is a brilliant book. It suceeds on every single leve, and while the end does seem a little rushed, and i would rather the book were a bit longer, this book ranks among Rankin's best work. Which, considering the calibre of almost all his books, means that this book is very, very good indeed.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Nothing special.
    I'd never heard of Ian Rankin, but the book reviewer on Fresh Air, Maureen Corrigan, happened to mention that she limited her reading of Rankin to one book a month so she could longer savor his stuff. I don't if know this is one of his weaker efforts, but it would be difficult to motivate myself enough to try another. Simply, while the prose and dialogue are generally adequate, the main character is both hackneyed and sketchily drawn. He seems like a fictional detective, rather than a real and original presence. Beyond this, the plotting is extremely lazy and incredible, with coincidental connections and meetings happening in London as if it were a village of a few hundred. Alas, the villain is revealed at the end in the manner of a rabbit from a hat with no logical or clever foreshadowing, and a "solution" by the sadsack hero which is uninteresting and highly unlikely. Followed this shortly later with Dennis Lehane's "Mystic River" and it took his clean, sharp, evocative prose to fully dissolve my disappointment. Lehane will be revisited, but I think I'll lose Rankin's address.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Strange Murders
    Each victim is being bitten after death by teeth that seem to resemble those that might be found on some monster. This is the story of a serial killer set in Scotland that puts its hooks in at the start. I finished this in two sittings because I couldn't wait to find out what was going to take place next. A well-crafted mystery series. John Rebus, the Scottish policeman is a wonderful and lasting character. ... Read more


    5. Resurrection Men : An Inspector Rebus Novel (Inspector Rebus Novels)
    by Ian Rankin
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316608491
    Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
    Publisher: Little, Brown
    Sales Rank: 14423
    Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    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-protÈgÈ 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. ... Read more

    Reviews (16)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well, 13 obviously isn't unlucky for Rankin....
    Detective Inspector Rebus has crossed the line. Never one for authority, this time he has gone too far. During a dispute over how to handle the investigation into the death of Edinburgh art dealer Edward Marber, Rebus throws a mug of coffee over the Chief Super, and is immediately suspended. He then faces his Last Chance Saloon, as he is sent back to Police College for punishment, to learn the foreign (to Rebus, at least) arts of discipline and respect for authority. He is placed with four other of the force's more unorthodox members, and as a training exercise they are given an unsolved case - the murder of Edinburgh low-life Rico Lomax - to have a deeper look at. However, it soon becomes apparent to Rebus that something incredibly fishy is going on, something that has to do with the real reason their superiors have asked them to investigate this case...

    Meanwhile, back in Edinburgh, Rebus' protégé DS Siobhan Clark is left to deal with the killing of the art dealer, and feels herself being thrown into uncertainty when the name of notorious gangster - and Rebus's nemesis - Morris Gerald Cafferty, recently released from prison, turns up. Is she ready to follow in Rebus's footsteps, and is she capable of contending with the possible new complexities of an already puzzling case?

    This, Rankin's 13th Rebus novel, is one of his very best. It boasts a brilliantly thick plot, true to previous form, more great characters, a tense yet blunt writing style, and of course Edinburgh, which continues to breath and pulse like a menacing giant. John Rebus is on absolutely wonderful form yet again in a complex, engrossing, and incredibly strong book, and DS Clarke is marvellous, becoming more and more like her boss every day. It is clear that Rankin is priming her to step into Rebus' shoes upon his retirement, which is surely not far away. And when Rankin does retire him to a more background role, reader's need not worry, as Clarke is an ideal replacement.

    I would recommend this book, indeed to entire series, the best currently being produced in Britain, to anyone who is a fan of brilliant crime novels. In the UK Rankin is a writing phenomena, sales of his books alone account for approximately 10% of the ENTIRE British crime market. And quite deservedly so. He's a brilliant crime writer whose talents eclipse those of even such greats as Michael Connelly (in my opinion), and Resurrection Men can only further cement his growing readership in the US. If there's any justice, Resurrection Men, this 13th in the rebus series, will be a best-seller all over America.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Inspector Rebus Makes a Welcome Return
    Inspector John Rebus is always in trouble. But when he throws a tea cup at his boss, he has gone too far.

    The book begins with him at Tulliallan, the Scottish Police College, where he, and several other officers who have disobeyed authority, are supposed to mend their ways. As punishment, this Wild Bunch is given an old murder case to solve.

    But the problem is Rebus has ties to this case. And the ties may end his career permanently. Somehow he must solve the case without letting the others know about his involvement.

    Meanwhile, his associate and friend, DS Siobhan Clarke, is investigating the death of a prominent Edinburgh art dealer who was found bludgeoned right outside his front door. Soon enough, Clarke finds that her current murder has ties to the old one Rebus is investigating and both of them are in some way related to Scottish crime lord, Morris Cafferty.

    One of the great pleasures of reading an Ian Rankin mystery is in the gritty and realistic setting he uses for his novel. Edinburgh is so vividly depicted that it almost seems to be a character in this story.

    Rankin is also a master at characterization and Rebus and Clarke are both fascinating individuals. The plot seems to hold less interest for Rankin and sometimes it takes several readings to figure out how he got from point A to point B. But overall this is a fine and intelligent book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
    The idea of a world-weary police detective who's willing to bend a few rules is one of the most used (and overused) formulae in the world of mystery novels. In Ian Rankin's hands, however, this well trodden path becomes something marvelous. I've been a fan of the Rebus novels for years. Rankin shows us an Edinburgh that's dark and exotic, while simultaneously being "small town"-ish and provincial. A Rebus novel will leave you feeling that you've experienced a bit of the city (and region) that will never appear in a tourist guide.

    In this installment of the Rebus series, John's gotten himself in more than a bit of trouble. He's been sent off for a last ditch chance to rescue the remains of his career. Could our man sit in a classroom and behave himself? Could things be as straight forward as they appear? Of course not! Rankin weaves rich and varied plot lines that involve most of your favorite characters from the previous novels, splashing raw and genuine feeling emotion across the pages as abundantly as blood and gore flow at a Rebus crime scene. This isn't a "cozy".

    Resurrection Men is a great addition to the Rebus series. I highly recommend it. Rankin fans will not be disappointed. If you are looking at this as your first entry into the series, please consider reading the books in chronological order. Aspects of the plot lines do carry along from book to book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A good choice for the Edgar!
    Another fine piece of work from Ian Rankin, one a handful of writers who's newest and latest I usually buy sight unseen. At this point in his career, I'm convinced that this chap isn't capable of writing a bad book. One of the great ironies here is that as a side effect of his job, the John Rebus character has become so wonderfully flawed that it's amazing he still has a job! You almost want the man to go ahead and retire so that he can stop drinking, relax and finally have a normal life. Hopefully, that will not happen anytime soon, at least not until some of his rebelliousness has worn off on DS Siobhan Clarke, who appears to be groomed as his protege.

    But, as others have pointed out, the later Rebus novels are on the long side, with frequent stretches of dead-end procedural work, as well as dull, slice-of-life tedium usually reserved for mainstream literature. And while the secondary characters are all very well done, there are now so many of them that even the author felt a need to list them in the beginning of the book. On the other hand, Resurrection Men contains more plot twists and surprises than usual, and overall, in my opinion, this is was a very good choice for the Edgar.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Edgar Winning Police Procedural
    Police corruption is a subject all South Floridiansare familiar. In the early 1980s a vast police drug rip-off collapsed when three dead drug guards were fished from the Miami River. Cops had forced them to jump into the river while they swiped the coke, never bothering to ascertain who could swim.

    Scotland's Detective Inspector John Rebus is sent undercover to infiltrate a gang of rogue cops. All are assigned to a retraining program for police, where their assignment may uncover Rebus's own culpability in a crime. Slowly, fearfully Rebus connects the dots between the areas latest murder, an imposing crime boss, and an unsolved cold case.

    This book won an Edgar in spite of its dense regionalism. It is however a carefully plotted tale of mystery and pursuit by a policeman whose own haunting guilt fails to dissuade him from his duty. ... Read more


    6. Till the End of Tom (Amanda Pepper Mysteries (Hardcover))
    by GILLIAN ROBERTS
    list price: $22.95
    our price: $15.61
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345454928
    Catlog: Book (2004-11-23)
    Publisher: Ballantine Books
    Sales Rank: 18474
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    7. Strip Jack (Strip Jack)
    by Ian Rankin
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312965141
    Catlog: Book (1998-05-01)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    Sales Rank: 43110
    Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    When respected MP Gregor Jack is caught in a police raid on an Edinburgh brothel and his flamboyant wife Elizabeth suddenly disappears, John Rebus smells a set-up.And when Elizabeth's badly beaten body is found, Rebus is suddenly up against a killer who holds all the cards..
    ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very good!
    This is my first Ian Rankin novel. Although I find the TV version of Rebus (BBC) interesting and stylish, the episodes are very moody, dark and gristly. I was a little worried that the book would be the same way, however, it was excellent, witty and complicated! The reader took a little getting used to, but I got into it and enjoyed it.

    I am giving it 4 stars instead of five because I thought the ending was good, but not great.

    Another reviewer refers to the "new, mellower" Rebus, so maybe the earlier works are violent. I can only say that I will keep on reading Rankin!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Better and Better
    As Ian Rankin's series progresses, Detective Inspector John Rebus is becoming more and more likable. This time he's trying to solve the murder of a local MP's wife. He comes up against the usual brick walls put up by superior officers on the way to solving the case, but in this book for the first time, he seems to have made a friend in the force in young DS Brian Holmes.

    I'm finding the Insector John Rebus books even more enjoyable since the newer, mellow John Rebus has been developed.

    A wonderful British police procedural full of wit and glint-in-the-eye humour.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Rankin is the Best
    Ian Rankin once again proves that he is amongst the best, if not the best writer of Crime Fiction in the world. Strip Jack has all the twists and turns that make Ian Rankin's books unputdownable. The plot, MP wife's suspicious disappearance and subsequent murder, moves along really well. The numerous sub-plots, unlike in some stories, actually help the book to move along rather than detract from the main story. As usual all the plot lines are integral to the story. All in all an excellent addition to the Rebus series, if you like good British Detective fiction (and who doesn't, it is the best after all) this is a must for your library.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Compelling Scottish Crime Fiction
    I highly recommend this fine Inspector Rebus novel by Rankin. Excellent crime/detective novel based in Scotland, providing a worthwhile alternative to the plethora of US novels. Read it if you like crime novels with a twist!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Case for Scotlands best Detective
    I cannot believe that the reader from Chicago found this book so Bad. I however enjoyed it hugely. This was the first Inspector Rebus novel I read, and I'm looking forward to read a lot more. With out spoiling the novel, its about a MP who is caught in a brothel whos wife is murdered. If you like novels with twists and turns and masses of tension and touches of humour then you will love this book. ... Read more


    8. The Falls : An Inspector Rebus Novel (An Inspector Rebus Novel)
    by Ian Rankin
    list price: $7.99
    our price: $7.19
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312982402
    Catlog: Book (2003-02-17)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
    Sales Rank: 34514
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    When the privileged daughter of a merchant banker disappears, a search through her e-mails uncovers her secret life-and a bizarre correspondence with an on-line game player who delights in macabre puzzles. The first game was for the girl. The next one is for Inspector John Rebus, a man haunted by the impenetrable riddles of his own troubled past. But the lead is soon complicated by an unexpected twist.

    A hand-carved wooden doll in an eight-inch coffin is found on the grounds of the victim's home-a clue that links her vanishing to the deaths of four other women, and to a centuries-old offense that still scars the grisly history of Edinburgh.

    From the shadowy world of an Internet stalker to the quicksand of lies in the missing girl's dissolute family, Rebus is led into the soul of evil. And to a shattering crime that only he, a man who treads the fine line between investigative brilliance and personal oblivion, could ever hope to understand.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (23)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Rankin, King Of Tartan Noir
    A wealthy Edinburgh university student goes missing, and the pressure is on to find her. John Rebus and Siobhan Clarke are assigned to the case. Soon they discover that "Flip" was participating in an internet role playing game just before she disappeared. Clarke, knowing much more about computers and the internet than Rebus, starts communicating with the Gamemaster, a shadowy character at best. Rebus follows up on another clue, a small carved wooden doll in a miniature coffin. He's led to the Edinburgh Museum where a charming woman named Jean shows him similar antique coffins unearthed around Edinburgh. Inspector Rebus is now in his fifties and mentions retirement several times in this book. Siobhan Clarke had much of the spotlight in the story, as if Rankin is grooming her to take over as the main character when Rebus is no more. Although the hints of retirement for Rebus were disturbing, this book is an overall good read, if a bit overlong. This is my favorite mystery series ever and I'm looking forward to Resurrection Men in January 2002 ( UK release date ).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Rebus fans can savor this one
    While visiting Ireland in early September, I, of course,had to visit the local bookstores. Was I excited when I found this new Ian Rankin book! While Rankin never disappoints with his Rebus series, I thought THE FALLS was the best one yet. His writing has found more clarity and John Rebus's character and personality are more well defined than in the his earlier novels. The plot is excellent. I missed two days of Irish scenery reading this book in the car. If you've never read a John Rebus book, start with the first book of the series, KNOTS AND CROSSES. If you love British mysteries, you won't be disappointed.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Can't go wrong with Rankin
    One of the great things about the Rebus novels is the subdued character conflicts at play underneath the plots and subplots. Not only does one come away from Rankin's work, particularly the later Rebus books, with a wonderful sense of place and atmosphere, but the characterization is so strong that even the second and third level characters are developed enough to stand on their own. The downside of this, which is unavoidable, is that the book tends to grow long in spots. That notwithstanding, the Rebus series is an excellent one. DS Siobhan Clarke has become more prominent in these books as well, and I can't help but wonder if she isn't being lined up for a series of her own.

    5-0 out of 5 stars masterfully done
    At 393 pages, the author takes time to do excellent character and place development. The plot is complex and interesting, the story holding one's interest all the way through. It is intelligent, gritty, well paced: Great writing.
    Plain and simple, a really really good who-dunnit. Set in the city of Edinburgh, some Scottish references and words, but not that will hold you back if you are not familiar with them. A great read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A complex mystery combined with atmosphere & characters
    I love Ian Rankin's Rebus series, even though I am constantly amazed at the extent to which Rebus is able to drink and hold down a job -- I think the Scots are more tolerant of heavy drinkers than American employers would be.

    That having been said, reading this mystery was like a trip to Edinburgh as someone who lives and works there sees the city -- a city with very deep roots in history, still influenced by events that occurred hundreds of years ago, living under the shadow of a castle and with history in every building.

    The plot involves the disappearance of a wealthy young college student, who was supposed to be meeting friends for drinks and never shows up. Because of who she is, all the stops are pulled out to find her, and Rebus finds himself one of many working on this case. He believes from the start that she has been killed and he is investigating a homicide. He also thinks there's some connection between her death and some miniature coffins that have been found from time to time, and there's a possibility that her death is connected to a puzzle-solving computer game she's been playing.

    If you like mysteries that make you think, that really challenge your intelligence and are written with literary skill that will make them timeless classics, Rankin is an author for you. This is my fourth book by him and I'm relishing reading more in the series. ... Read more


    9. Past Reason Hated: An Inspector Banks Mystery
    by Peter Robinson
    list price: $7.50
    our price: $6.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0380733285
    Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
    Publisher: Avon
    Sales Rank: 68496
    Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A picturesque Yorkshire village is dressed in its finest for the upcoming Noel. But one of its residents will not be celebrating this holiday.

    Chief Inspector Alan Banks knows that secrecy can sometimes prove fatal'and secrets were the driving force behind Caroline Hartley's life…and death. She was a beautiful enigma, brutally stabbed in her own home three days prior to Christmas. Leaving her past behind for a forbidden love affair, she mystified more than a few. And now she is dead, clothed only in her unshared mysteries and her blood. In this season of giving and forgiving, Banks is eager to absolve the innocent of their sins. But that must wait until the many facets of a perplexing puzzle are exposed and the dark circle of his investigation finally closes…and when a killer makes the next move.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Satisfying, solid mystery
    Peter Robinson always produces a solid, interesting mystery. His main character, Alan Banks, is a complex, compassionate police inspector with problems of his own. A thoughtful man with a love of classical music, Banks does not have the literary knowledge of Shakespeare or contemporary myster writers of his author. (I thought it amusing that one of the characters makes a flip comment comparing Banks to a P.D. James detective which goes completely over Banks' head.)

    Robinson cleverly weaves elements of Shakespeare, classical liturgical music, and sexual identity into a complex psychological mystery. As always, Robinson portrays Yorkshire in a convincing, vivid way.

    A satisfying read, this book is not quite up to the standards of his later works. That doesn't take anything away from this book, but simply reflects how much Robinson grew as an author in later books. "In a Dry Season" is my favorite of his works, and one of the best recreations of 1940s and contemporary Yorkshire in print.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Plodding through the slush
    Chilling portrayal of Yorkshire winter weather. I shivered throughout, from the meteorological descriptions, not the plot. This is an OK British dullsville police procedural of the Greeneland lite school, with a who-cares plot and at least 100 pages of padding. The one who dun it stood out like a sore thumb at first introduction. I give it three instead of two stars because it is literate and the dialogue works. Some interesting asides on twentieth century classical music. I find it difficult to believe that British police can get away with so much drinking on the job. But maybe they can. Maybe that's why it takes them those extra 100 pages to see what's in front of their nose.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A murder mystery with a difference.
    "Past Reason Hated," by Peter Robinson, differs from the run-of-the-mill murder mystery. Inspector Banks, who is the sleuth in this series, is always fascinating. He is a chain smoker who enjoys drinking. He loves classical music, although he is not overly intellectual. Banks truly shines in his ability to communicate with suspects in a murder investigation. Banks is the best interviewer in the business. He has unerring intuition when it comes to spotting lies and evasions, and he has a way of getting people to reveal a great deal of themselves. Most of all, he cares about seeing justice done, no matter how long it takes and no matter whom it may hurt. In this novel, a young amateur actress named Caroline Hartley is found brutally murdered. She has had a tumultuous life, and any number of people might have had reason to kill her. Banks interviews those who knew Caroline years ago, as well as those who were closely involved with her shortly before her death. "Past Reason Hated" deals with such themes as struggling to come to terms with one's sexuality, the fears that cause people to commit irrational acts and the complicated and inexplicable nature of human relationships. "Past Reason Hated" is an engrossing and satisfying psychological mystery.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best Yet
    I'm happy that I discovered, serendipitously, P. Robinson. He's my favorite mystery writer right now; since I discovered him about 3 months ago, I've read all of his novels. If you like Brit Police procedurals, he's the best--by far. Highly recommended.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Intense and complex.
    The Inspector Banks mysteries just get better over time and this one is particularly good. An intense, character-driven mystery it is also laced with danger. The complex realtionships between the suspects, the police, and the victim make for gripping reading. ... Read more


    10. The Babes in the Wood: A Chief Inspector Wexford Mystery
    by RUTH RENDELL
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $16.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 140004930X
    Catlog: Book (2003-10-21)
    Publisher: Crown
    Sales Rank: 87505
    Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    After weeks of rain, Chief Inspector Wexford has just finished moving his books and furniture upstairs to protect them from the rising waters when the telephone rings. Two local teenagers and their babysitter have gone missing. Wexford isn’t particularly worried, since these things usually sort themselves out. But as hours stretch into days, he begins to suspect he has a kidnapping on his hands. The stakes get even higher when a member of the missing trio turns up dead in the woods nearby.

    In the course of his investigation, Wexford must deal with a neighbor whose alibi is questionable, a religious cult and its sylvan rituals, someone close to the children’s family who nurses a terrible secret, and the babysitter’s ex-husband, who reveals the woman’s hidden penchant for violence.

    In The Babes in the Wood, Ruth Rendell draws the reader into a riveting story that alternates between Chief Inspector Wexford’s domestic life—his worries about the security of his home and his daughter’s odd new boyfriend—and his determination to see through a kaleidoscope of lies and bring a murderer to justice.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (19)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A babysitter and her two charges mysteriously disappear.
    Ruth Rendell's new Inspector Wexford mystery is "The Babes in the Wood," the story of three mysterious disappearances. A babysitter, Joanna Troy, has gone missing with the two adolescents, Giles and Sophie Dade, who were in her care. The neighborhood is flooded after torrential rains and Katrina Dade, Giles's and Sophie's hysterical mother, comes to the tearful conclusion that her children have somehow drowned. Wexford is skeptical about this theory, and he begins his usual thorough investigation.

    I have always liked Inspector Wexford. He is a devoted family man who adores his two adult daughters, although he is not blind to their flaws. He is bright, well-read, compassionate, bitingly funny, and tremendously intuitive. Wexford has an uncanny knack for recognizing liars. Since "The Babes in the Wood" is filled with liars, Wexford has many occasions to test his skill at separating truth from fiction.

    Rendell does her usual workmanlike and competent job of setting up her complicated plot, and the characters are a varied and lively bunch. The biggest problem with this novel is that the pace is, at times, a bit static. For large portions of the book, Wexford interviews the relatives and acquaintances of the missing people. These interviews are not scintillating enough to keep the book moving at a fast clip.

    However, the mystery has an unexpected and clever solution, and Wexford once again proves that he is a shrewd detective and an excellent judge of human nature. Rendell displays her marvelously mordant sense of humor and her jaded view of human nature. She is truly a misanthrope's delight. Most of the characters in "The Babes in the Wood" are selfish, disturbed, or manipulative. Although "The Babes in the Wood" is not Rendell's best work, it is entertaining enough. Devoted fans of the inimitable Inspector Wexford will find it a pleasure to observe the wheels turn as he slowly but surely gets to the bottom of a strange and perplexing case.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a quick read, unusual for Rendell
    Ruth Rendell's latest, "The Babes in the Woods", will delight devoted readers with her usual blend of psychological insight and murder mystery. Unlike some of her earlier, lengthier works, this book moves quickly, as Chief Inspector Wexford deals with the disappearance of two local teenagers and their babysitter. On his own home front, he is puzzled and worried over his adult daughter's choice of boyfriends; this counterplot is woven seamlessly into the main plot, in prime Rendell style.

    Rain and more rain falls; a deluge comes upon the area, complicating the investigation and darkening the moods of even the hardiest characters. In true British fashion, they weather the storm; the sun returns, the mystery is solved, and the reader closes the book with a satisfied sigh. "The Babes in the Woods" is a good introduction to new Rendell readers, and is highly recommended to those who already have been enjoying her skillful plotting and agile prose.

    5-0 out of 5 stars None Better
    Ruth Rendell is one of the best at her craft, and she is in
    great form with this one.
    Inspector Wexford has gotten a little older, and a bit more
    philosophical, but he is still a good, persistent cop, and
    he is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery.
    2 teen-age children, and their "sitter," a young woman who
    used to be a school teacher and who now runs her own internet-tutoring business, disappear while the parents are on a trip to
    Paris. The investigation is hampered by the wildly dysfunctional parents, and Wexford and his staff have to battle
    the parents to get all the information they need.
    But the investigation goes nowhere, and it is further delayed
    by Wexford's superior who orders him to wait until the current
    flood waters recede, thinking all 3 will be found dead in the
    floodwaters.
    But after the waters finally recede, and some valuable time has
    been lost, Wexford is able to pursue the case properly, but the
    lost time causes a lot of difficulty, and the people finally
    contacted are an odd mix, and they largely seem uninterested
    in being forthright and helping.
    In addition to the family and friends, the police here have to
    contend with some selfish, superior-acting people whose only
    concern is not getting "involved" with the police, even to the
    extent of giving them vital information, as well as a rather
    odd group of people who have formed their own church, and whose
    religious practices confound Wexford and staff.
    Plus, of course, Wexford has some personal distractions, and
    he has to address those at the same time.
    But the real Plus of this story is author Rendell's particular
    magic in presenting her characters and moving the story along.
    This writer is as good as they come in this genre, and it is
    such a pleasure to read her story, nearly everyone will enjoy
    it. The true fan won't be able to put it down. An absolute
    "must" for the mystery reader.

    5-0 out of 5 stars not quite the strongest Wexford, but still excellent
    true, this isn't really the best of Rendell's books, but it's still great. The story is interesting, and Wexford is becoming even more fascinating as he ages and feels increasingly adrift in a world that's largely moved on. There are some incredibly compelling sections which DO show Rendell writing at absolutely top form (e.g. the discovery of the car. I can't say more for spoilers) even if some aspects of the mystery are not QUITE of her normal quality.

    The Babes in the Wood is packed with symbolism, which makes it a very thoughtful read indeed. In some of the early books, also, Wexford is not a very developed character, merely a vessel through which the mystery could be solved. In her later novels, he has grown and expanded and shown himself to be one of the most fascinating protagonists the genre has to offer. A sort of Old-Father-Time of the crime world. A developed, interesting, reflective man, who is feeling increasingly adrift in a world which seems to have moved on. His presence in this story alone makes it worth reading.

    The Babes in the Wood is still a five-star read, better than almost all other crime fiction (I will take a moment here to whet appetites and mention that her latest novel, The Rottweiler, available in the UK, is EXCELLENT. For any Rendell fan, I must tell you that it is a book well-worth ordering from amazon.co.uk and paying the shipping costs for). As well as an intriguing mystery, she crams in interesting social observation and wonderful character development, too. True, her characters may not always be likeable, but the view that unlikeable characters a good book does not make holds absolutely no water with me at all. Rendell shows us real people, all the time, not always in their best light, and they are always fascinating. If you want comfortable fiction, Rendell probably isn't always for you. If you want a strong and fascinating crime novel, she is.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Slow-moving mystery
    Inspector Wexford is called upon to investigate the disappearance of two young teenagers and their babysitter. The teens' parents are an unlikeable couple who are out of town for the weekend and return to find their house empty. After some investigation, Wexford finds that there is suspicion that the father is being abusive to the daughter Sophie, and the son, Giles, is involved with a fundamentalist religious group. Through interminable chapters, the investigation drags on and at last a body is found in a deserted car. This discovery only leads to more questions which are finally answered by people who were nearby when the crime was committed. Perhaps die-hard Ruth Rendell fans will find this book interesting, but to me it was very slow-moving. ... Read more


    11. The Dragon King's Palace (A Sano Ichiro Mystery)
    by Laura Joh Rowland
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312990030
    Catlog: Book (2004-04-19)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
    Sales Rank: 104702
    Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    On a whim of the shogun's mother, a procession has left the sweltering heat of Edo, bound for the cooler climate of Mount Fuji. Among her traveling companions are Reiko, the beautiful wife of Sano Ichiro, the shogun's Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People; Reiko's friend Midori, nine months pregnant; and Lady Yanagisawa, the deranged wife of the shogun's powerful second-in-command. None of them look forward to the trip. But their troubles have only begun when their procession is stopped suddenly on a deserted road. The entire retinue is viciously slaughtered and the four women are bound and taken away, imprisoned by a mysterious kidnapper.

    Sano now finds himself faced with the most important case of his career. The shogun demands quick action, and under the threat of death, Sano is forced to work with his bitter enemies-Chamberlain Yanagisawa and Police Commissioner Hoshina. The delivery of a ransom note only complicates matters-forcing both Sano and Reiko to take desperate measures.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Reiko increasingly comes to the forefront
    I love the Sano Ichiro series. If you read the books in chronological order (which I highly recommend), you see Laura Joh Rowland increasingly make Reiko her primary character and reduce in role of Sano. Is this a good or bad thing? I guess that depends on your love of the Sano character. I do adore Sano and I've missed the concentration on him in the last couple of novels. By writing Reiko to be a co-primary character, Rowland allows herself a potentially broader range of plot lines. I'm enjoying the mix of male and female threads in the books. I also enjoy the exploration of Reiko and Sano's unusual relationship and a look at how the male and female worlds in medieval Japan interacted.

    In this book, Reiko plays a central role and draws heavily on the martial arts training her father provided her. If you don't care for this aspect of the series, you may not like this novel. If you enjoy the spotlight on the Reiko character, you'll love this book.

    2-0 out of 5 stars The first disappointment in the series
    This latest in the series is a bummer, with a preposterous plot and some preposterous actions by some of the main characters, including the Shogun and the chamberlain's wife. Hope that the author gets back on track with her next one!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but...
    This book has the usual political intrigue and sensual moments readers have come to expect from Laura Joh Rowland's novels. However, I came away feeling less than satisfied with this tale and eager to read the next novel in her series. It seemed as if maybe this book is a "bridge" - it wasn't so much a story in itself but was there to set up for future events. I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't read the book, but for anyone who is following the series, there should be a MAJOR shake-up of political power in the next book. That interests me more than what happened in this book.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Xena does Japan
    Well, this is an ill conceived book. I have to admit, I read only the first 50 pages or so, then skimmed it to see how it ended. Predictably. I love Ms. Rowland's attention to detail and portrayal of life in 17th century Japan, but I have problems accepting characters acting totally out of the cultural norm of the times. The plot itself is silly and the character Reiko increasingly has become a contemptorary action figure with Nancy Drew overtones. If I really enjoyed Xena, I'd watch reruns on TV.

    5-0 out of 5 stars enchanting seventeenth century Japanese investigative tale
    In 1682 (actually the Genroku Period Year 7) Lady Keisho-in, mother of the shogun, decides to take a trip. The imperial mother demands Reiko (the wife of Sano the samurai chief investigator), the pregnant Midori (the spouse of Sano's assistant Hirata) and Lady Yanagisawa (the wife of the second-in-command Chamberlain Yanagisawa) accompany her from Edo to Mount Fuji. None of the three invitees want to go, but each feels they must as loyalty demands so. The Dragon King attacks their retinue resulting in deaths of the protectors and the four females incarcerated at a ravaged island palace.

    The Dragon King sends a note to the Shogun demanding the execution of Police Commissioner Hoshina if he wants the return of his mother. The shogun assigns Yanagisawa and Sano to work the kidnapping case, but anyone with ambition sees an opportunity to gain favor by rescuing Lady Keisho. Yanagisawa manipulates the situation to his own benefit, as he prefers men to his wife. The clock ticks closer to a demented individual killing harmless women even Midori who just gave birth in captivity.

    Though THE DRAGON KING'S PALACE is typical of a historical abduction mystery, the locale and the characters make this novel unique and wonderful. The story line remains fresh though this is Sano's eighth tale because of the insightful look at an era when palace intrigue rivaled Machiavelli and the samurai code rules. Through the actions, reactions, and thoughts of a deep cast, readers obtain a delightful historical investigative tale whose enchanting center is seventeenth century Japan.

    Harriet Klausner ... Read more


    12. The Black Book
    by Ian Rankin
    list price: $7.50
    our price: $7.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312976755
    Catlog: Book (2000-10)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
    Sales Rank: 53765
    Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Five years ago, a mysterious fire burned Edinburgh's seed Central Hotel to ashes. Long-forgotten and unsolved, the case reappears when a charred body--with a bullet in its head--is found amongst the ruins. Inspector John Rebus knows that his superiors would rather he let sleeping dogs lie. He knows that part of the answer lies somewhere in a cryptic black notebook. Ane he knows that to solve teh case, he'll have to peel back layer upon layer of unspeakable secrets to arrive at the truth. . .
    ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Blackout over Knockout
    Author of a Gold Dagger Winner and Edgar nominee, Ian Rankin writes of a detective in Scotland that champions a 5-year old murder investigation.
    John Rebus, the protagonist, is a rough-hewn character with uncanning ability to 'play' the other characters. Although Rebus's character is fully developed, I found Rankin left many characters lacking substance. This dissonance was illuminated through Rankin's difficulty to transition between chapters, which he delivers in an arbitrary and awkward attempt to expand minor-character attributes.
    The foundation of this novel (approx 225 pgs.) is a little weak, but the final 125 pages will keep you engaged. I had a difficult time following all the minor character developments, which I believe distracted from the strength of John Rebus. "The Black Book," is substantially short of a knockout and much closer to a blackout.
    This novel was recommended by a friend of mine, but I would be hesitant to read this author in the future. In a saturated genre like crime-novels, I suggest that you only read 5-star books, because there is a cornucopia available. This is not a 5-star novel.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Criminal not to read this!
    Ian Rankin must now hold the position as one of the UK's finest crime writers with his 5th "Inspector Rebus novel", The Black
    Book. Set in the depths of Edinburgh's criminal fraternity, Rankin captures the persona of a hard-nosed Scottish policeman,
    (John Rebus) as he attempts to solve a five-year old case. Notes about it are hidden in a black book kept by his colleague,
    Brian Holmes, the victim of a brutal assault. The scene is the Central Hotel, a paradise for the degeneracy and squalor which
    breed within its walls until it is razed to the ground; the eventual investigation yields one dead body but no clues. Five years on and Morris Gerald Cafferty (one of Edinburgh's most notorious criminals) is under surveillance for his role in a gang of loan sharks. In the course of this Rebus is blighted by personal problems and eventual suspension from the police force whilst trying to link the fire at Central Hotel to Cafferty's own illegal dealings. Amidst the lies and intrigue there lies a terrifying link that, if exposed, could result in vicious reprisals for many other people. With all detective novels it is difficult to fully explain a plot without revealing the conclusion but with Rankin, nothing is certain until the final page. This is a stunning piece of work; particularly striking is the originality of the characters and plot that culminates in an energetic yet decisive result. If you read no other crime thriller this year then read Ian Rankin's work, impressive and highly elegant.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing Tale With Even More Intriguing Characters
    Early last year I read a British publication of this book and found it one of the best Inspector Rebus novels yet. Inspector Rebus himself, is such a fascinating charachter that his inner conflicts, history of broken relationships, addiction to good Scottish whiskey and love of his extensive and eclectic music collection make him as much of a mystery as the series of mysterious murders he investigates. Sometimes, as he has done here, Ian Rankin introduces other similarly intriguing by players, some of whom have previous and again mysterious histories with Rebus. The interaction between Rebus, other charachters and the history and surroundings of Edinborough itself paint such a vivid, moody and tense atmosphere that often the obligatory murder or two seem almost superfluos. The murder/s however, are in fact never too much. Each is different, unexpected and initially seemingly unsolveable and, as in this book, the answers and Rebus' manner of finding them lead the reader through an entirely unexpected journey that, as the plot developes, twists like Rebus' mind and Edinborough's ancient streets and alleyways.

    To be more specific as to the who's, what's and where's involved in this tales' journey would ruin the prospective delight of any new readers reactions and absorbsion of those details. It's a fine book by an accomplished Master of Mystery and Creator of Charachter. Rankin is so much more than those two phrases infer .... he is a true and fascinating Novelist.

    4-0 out of 5 stars solid read
    An entertaining police procedural novel. These books aren't my usual cup of tea, but I found this one well-written and interesting. It's peppered with some of the cliches of the genre, but the characters are usually drawn with enough originality and perceptiveness to carry the story along.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Superb Read
    Rankin lives up to expectations with this his fifth full length Rebus novel. The plot leads the reader on a chase around Scotland for the truth behind a hotel fire five years ago and a series of more contemporary crimes and misdemeanors. With more twists and turns than the Hampton Court Maze, this book is sure to delight anyone who likes to be taken up numerous garden paths and back again. From the first page to the last your sure to find plenty of suprises in this novel. Definitly one of the best I've ever read. ... Read more


    13. Shinju
    by Laura Joh Rowland
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0061009504
    Catlog: Book (1996-03-01)
    Publisher: HarperTorch
    Sales Rank: 121876
    Average Customer Review: 3.94 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    When beautiful, wealthy Yukiko and low-born artist Noriyoshi are found drowned together in a shinju, or ritual double suicide, everyone believes the culprit was forbidden love. Everyone but newly appointed yoriki Sano Ichiro.

    Despite the official verdict and warnings from his superiors, the shogun's Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People suspects the deaths weren't just a tragedy -- they were murder. Risking his family's good name and his own life, Sano will search for a killer across every level of society -- determined to find answers to a mystery no one wants solved. No one but Sano...

    As subtle and beautiful as the culture it evokes, Shinju vividly re-creates a world of ornate tearooms and guady pleasure-palaces, cloistered mountaintop convents and dealthy prisons.

    Part love story, part myster, Shinju is a tour that will dazzle and entertain all who enter its world. ... Read more

    Reviews (35)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent characters and atmosphere
    This was my introduction to Sano Ichiro (and Rowland's books) and I was fascinated with the descriptions of 17th century Japan. I've done a bit of historical reading into that era (early Shin Buddhism) and found this book was accurate and richly descriptive.

    As for the character of Sano, I understand some of the other comments that he wasn't "heroic" enough for a Samurai. But that was one of the things that made him interesting to me. He is a quite "average" man who gets caught up in a system that can easily swallow him whole.

    The book, although it had a few minor flaws, was intriquing enough for me to read several more of the series and it's interesting to see the way Sano's character develops. I just finished the fourth book in the series (The Concubine's Tattoo) and look forward to all the others.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful taste of samurai justice
    As a longtime lover of mysteries and of things Japanese, I was thrilled when I came across the Sano Ichiro series. This book lived up to my initial excitement. This is a cross between a hardboiled thriller and a straight-up historical novel full of both detail and texture. One of the charms here is the hero, Sano. He is a ronin--a masterless samurai--who has managed to get an appointment on the Edo (aka Tokyo) detective corps. Rowland's achievement in creating this character is that he is both a living embodiment of Bushido--the Warrior Way--and a very anachronistic mix of self-reliance and love of justice as aideal above all others. In the arcane, byzantine (if I can use that word) world of Tokugawa Japan, he is the classic outsider seeking to do the right thing even if it destroys him and his down-on-its-luck clan. The mystery is interesting here, though in typical thriller fashion the story shifts from whodunit to get-him-before-he-gets-you about three-quarters of the way in.

    This is a terrific start to a fine series.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good mystery, a glimpse into another world
    When I picked up this book, I was a little worried that it would fall into the trap of concentrating so heavily on historically accurate details that the idea of a mystery (or plot in general) would be lost. Happily, that isn't the case. Laura Joh Rowland sets a solid mystery in an interesting period of time. She manages to give us a flavor of era and still present a great read. I highly recommend this novel. If you are interested in the Sano Ichiro series, definitely start with this book.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Riveting, but poorly written
    Unfortunately this promising story is "over-told." The author seems overly enthusiastic to prove she's done her history homework, and the resulting writing style made me feel like I was back in grammar school. If you've ever read anything about Japan at all you will skim several of the awkward descriptions and translations that the author tries to weave seamlessly into the story. The conflict between the main character Sano's sense of filial duty and obedience as a samurai and his burning desire to get to the truth of the murder is weakly explored. Instead of any real conflict emerging, the author just has him think "oh, my father will be so upset, this goes against my whole being as a samurai, I should really stop this investigation" every few pages. By the end of each paragraph he has decided to carry on, in pursuit of justice (mostly for the people who have died as a result of his investigations, and also for the sad courtesan he slept with once, which is a bit tough to empathize with)! What a surprise! The ending took far too long and was a deus ex machina, there wasn't any real suspense. I wanted to know what happened, but I found myself consistently annoyed with having so far to go before the book's end. For those with zero understanding of medieval Japanese culture, this could be a pretty interesting way of learning a great deal. For a more fun take on medieval Japan (that also explores the mystical and spiritual) I'd recommend Tomoe Gozen.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great page-turner
    I've enjoyed Laura Joh Rowland's historical mystery series featuring detective Sano Ichiro. The main characters are appealing, and the action moves along rapidly. Some of her later books are beginning to resemble each other too much--yet they are still page-turners. I'd like to see a little more evolution in the characters. But on the whole, I recommend the Sano series. ... Read more


    14. The Plot Thickens
    by Mary Higgins Clark, Walter Mosley, Lawrence Block, Janet Evanovich, Nancy Pickard, Edna Buchanan, Nelson Demille, Lauren Demille, Donald E. Westlake, Linda Fairstein, Ann Rule, Carol Higgins Clark
    list price: $7.99
    our price: $6.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0671015575
    Catlog: Book (1997-11-01)
    Publisher: Pocket
    Sales Rank: 52546
    Average Customer Review: 3.56 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Joining together for a good cause brings out the best in today's top mystery and suspense writers!For this marvelously entertaining anthology, these outstanding contributors rose to a unique literary challenge: each penned a tale that ingeniously features a thick fog, a thick book, and a thick steak.

    The result is a collection of wonderfully imaginative tales that both chill the spine and warm the heart: proceeds from The Plot Thickens will help bring the gift of reading to millions of disadvantaged Americans. ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good Book for a Great Cause
    I am not sure what caused me to pick up this book, as I am not usually a mystery reader. I liked the idea of all of the stories having the three elements of a thick book, a thick steak, and a thick fog. It was interesting to see how each author wove them into their story.
    I enjoyed almost all of the stories. The one that I wasn't able to finish was the one written by Walter Moseley.
    It was a good way to catch a glimpse of the writing styles of authors I have never read before. I applaud each of them for contributing to a very worthy cause.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Some Great Stories, the Rest Only Good Used Under Chickens
    Like any collection of short stories by various authors the quality varies dramatically from author to author and story to story. There are some sensational stories in here such as Westlake's 'Take It Away' about a cop on stakeout buying takeaway food at BurgerWhopper. This is by far head and shoulders above the rest of this book in quality. Also read his masterpiece novel 'The Ax' if you have not done so already.

    Anne Rule's 'The Road Trip' is also pretty good about a terrified woman driving alone who is being menaced by a truck. Nancy Pickard's 'Love's Cottage' although not brilliant is good, set back in 1914 written as a diary by a black servant the day before a massacre in the house she works in. Evanovich's 'Last Peep' is readable about two women bounty hunters who find a body of a guy they are after that disappears when they bring back the police a few minutes later. Mary Higgins Clark's The Man Next Door about a serial killer living next door to his victim is readable but the story flows a bit too convenient for the characters to make the plot realistic. Her daughter's story 'Too Many Cooks' is a very basic simple story about an actress who lands a last minute job for a BBQ sauce commercial. It is a good read but doesn't really fit the genre of the rest of the book and is obviously in there because the author is the daughter of the presenting author. The rest of the stories aren't worth reading.

    There is a brief synopsis of all the authors in this book at the front as well as the charity that this book helped by being published when it first came out. One unique thing about this collection is that all autors had to include 'A Thick Fog' 'A Thick Book' and 'A Thick Stake' somewhere in there stories which may explain why some stories aren't very good as they spent more time trying to do this than thinking of a story.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Mystery Anthology
    With most short story collections, there's usually a common theme. In "The Plot Thickens," each author was required to incorporate the following three things into their story: a thick fog, a thick steak, and a thick book. Most are concealed cleverly and seamlessly in the story, but I still found myself looking for them like it was a Where's Waldo? game. Not surprisingly, most of the authors use a restaurant setting to integrate the steak, but at least Westlake does a little play on of words in his story.

    Anyway, on to the following 11 short stories:

    "How Far It Could Go" by Lawrence Block is a largely conversational story set in a restaurant, where a woman meets with a man she intends on hiring to "rough up" her ex-boyfriend over a cash settlement. I kept expecting some great twist at the end (never happened); still, not a bad story. >> "Foolproof" by Edna Buchanan -- An Egyptian mummy autopsy reveals a 1000+ year-old murder victim with the same fingerprints as a notorious gang member. Again, the ending didn't impress me, and the story seemed to jump unevenly from scene to scene. >> "The Man Next Door" by Mary Higgins Clark -- A woman's creepy next-door neighbor breaks into her house through their shared basement wall (quite ingenious, in my opinion), in order for him to abduct her and keep her a prisoner in his home. Mary, being the brains behind this whole eradicate-American-illiterarcy thing (which this book donates a percentage to), not surprisingly has the longest "short" story in here, at approximately 40 pages, but it doesn't feel that long. It has an engrossing plot, and good characterization and alternating p.o.v. One of my faves in here.

    "Too Many Cooks" by Carol Higgins Clark -- An aspiring actress is called in to play the role of a chef in a commercial, but accidents start occurring on the set. A little predictable about the bad guy, but still good. >> "Revenge & Rebellion" by Nelson & Lauren DeMille -- A woman meets with an old college friend who's now a literary agent, in the hopes he'll accept her manuscript. Another restaurant setting; in fact, two restaurants in this one. Good story, but the suspense twist doesn't happen until the last page. >> "The Last Peep" by Janet Evanovich -- A bounty hunter and her partner-in-training search for the missing body of a Peeping Tom. Strong, unique characters. Quite funny. >> "Going Under" by Linda Fairstein -- A policewoman agrees to go undercover as a dental patient in order to catch a molesting dentist. Reading this one made me glad I never chose to go under while at the dentist's--just to be safe.

    "Thick-Headed" by Walter Mosley -- Two men find a dead body in the trunk of a car and get involved in solving the crime. A little confusing, probably because there were so many characters--dead and alive. >> "Love's Cottage" by Nancy Pickard was told in letter form and based on an actual mass murder in 1914. Short, good ending; however, since no motive was ever given in history, it's up to the reader to speculate on it. >> "The Road Trip" by Ann Rule -- A woman is harassed and followed by two guys in a semi-truck while on a road trip. Started out slow, but got better. >> "Take It Away" by Donald E. Westlake -- A police officer and his associates are on a stakeout in order to catch an overseas art smuggler. A great finale to this anthology. I got a laugh out of the ending.

    In summary: "The Plot Thickens" is a pretty good mystery anthology. There are some dull stories, some entertaining ones--which can be said for most short story collections--but the majority are very good. Definitely worth reading if you're a fan of one or more of the authors in here.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Mystery Anthology!
    "The Plot Thickens" is an anthology containing eleven stories from eleven of today's top mystery and suspense writers. To be honest, I hunted this book down solely for Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum short story, but found I enjoyed the whole thing. "The Plot Thickens" was written for a great cause, to raise money to fight illiteracy in the U.S., so you can feel good about where your money is going. Some of the stories are better than others and individual opinions will undoubtedly vary, but each tale includes a thick fog, a thick book, and a thick steak, and it's fun seeing how each author chose to work in those three elements.

    1. "How Far it Could Go" by Lawrence Block is probably my least favourite story of the anthology. A man and a woman meet in a restaurant to discuss using violence to dissuade the woman's ex-husband from suing her, but how far will it go? Thin on plot, but Block creates an interesting mood. **1/2

    2. "Foolproof" by Edna Buchanan tells the tale of an ancient Egyptian mummy autopsied and fingerprinted for interests' sake. But the findings bring to light a millennia's old unsolved murder and cast doubt on the only foolproof form of crime scene evidence. An intriguing and enjoyable story. ****

    3. "The Man Next Door" by Mary Higgins Clark is a great, suspenseful story. When a young woman becomes the latest unwilling houseguest of her serial killer neighbour, the race is on to find her before it's too late. A well-written and exciting tale. *****

    4. "Too Many Cooks" by Carol Higgins Clark introduces a struggling young actress who gets a break when she's chosen to play a cook in a steak sauce commercial. But she soon finds herself caught up in some real life drama and betrayal. A fun and entertaining story. ****

    5. "Revenge and Rebellion" by Nelson & Lauren DeMille is a deliciously twisted tale. When a woman gives her treasured autobiographical manuscript to her good friend who works as a literary agent, he gets a disturbing glimpse of the world through her eyes. But the aspiring author doesn't take criticism lightly, and lost in her own delusions, there's no telling what she'll do. A very good story. ****

    6. "The Last Peep" by Janet Evanovich is a Stephanie Plum story well worth tracking down. This time, bounty hunter Stephanie is on the trail of a burg resident with a penchant for peeping in windows and showing off his personal wares. But when she discovers his dead, naked body, which subsequently disappears, she's thrust into the middle of an exciting, and very amusing, mystery. A mystery that she is bound and determined to solve, with a little help from sidekick Lula and Grandma Mazur. A hilarious, well-written, and wonderful story. *****

    7. "Going Under" by Linda Fairstein is a fun and original tale. An ambitious young police officer gets her big chance to make detective, as long as she's willing to let a dentist with wandering hands have his way with her once he puts her under! I really liked this story. ****

    8. "Thick-Headed" by Walter Mosley is a good story, though a bit tough to follow. When a man hired to transport a car finds a dead body in the trunk of that car, he goes to his closest friend for advice. And the two of them get themselves in deeper and deeper with angry mobsters, more bodies, and criminal schemes. ***1/2

    9. "Love's Cottage" by Nancy Pickard is an original and enjoyable tale. A black servant details her arrival in a strange new household with her husband, and the events that led to a terrible tragedy. ****

    10. "The Road Trip" by Ann Rule is an excellent story and one of the anthology's best. When a newly divorced woman heads on a business road trip, it provides her with the welcome opportunity to get away from her maniacal, jealous, and possessive ex-husband. But instead of getting some much-needed relaxation, she finds herself in the midst of a new and infinitely worse nightmare when she becomes the next target of an infamous serial killer. A tightly plotted and thrilling story. *****

    11. "Take it Away" by Donald E. Westlake rounds out the anthology nicely. When an FBI agent on a stakeout of a notorious art thief goes to get fast food for his team, a coincidental conversation with the next man in line turns out to be much, much more than it seems. A fun and intriguing tale. ****

    Overall, "The Plot Thickens" is an entertaining mystery anthology that will satisfy readers. My favourite stories were the ones by Mary Higgins Clark, Janet Evanovich, and Ann Rule, but each and every one was worth reading. So give "The Plot Thickens" a try, and do your part in the fight against illiteracy.

    3-0 out of 5 stars As Good As A "Thick Fog"
    I have to agree with most of what was written by others. If it were not that this book was written for charitable purposes ... I probably wouldn't have given it 3 stars. I was hard press to find three stories that were worth reading from beginning to end.

    I did enjoy looking for the "thick" book, steak and fog in each story. In most of the stories it seemed that the authors stuck in the 3 elements listed as an after thought. The stories I enjoyed most were stories where there was some thought put into the plot.

    Because this book was written for charity, I would encourage others to purchase it, read and review it. ... Read more


    15. The Perfumed Sleeve : A Novel
    by Laura Joh Rowland
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $15.72
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312318898
    Catlog: Book (2004-04-06)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
    Sales Rank: 26205
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    November 1694. The streets of Edo are erupting in violence as two factions struggle for control over the ruling Tokugawa regime. One is led by the shogun's cousin, Lord Matsudaira, and the other by the shogun's second-in-command, Chamberlain Yanagisawa. Each side pressures Sano Ichiro, the shogun's most honorable investigator, to join its ranks.

    When one of the shogun's most trusted advisers is found dead, Sano is forced to honor a posthumous request for a murder investigation. Senior Elder Makino believed that his death would be the result of assassination rather than natural causes. Although he and Sano were bitter enemies, Makino knew that the incorruptible Sano would be duty-bound to oblige his final wish.

    Under the watchful eyes and thinly veiled threats of both Lord Matsudaira and Chamberlain Yanagisawa, Sano moves with caution. Each is eager to implicate the other in Makino's death. Sano must discover whether the death was indeed murder, and if so, whether it was motivated by politics, love, or sex. The discovery of secret alliances, both romantic and military, further complicates matters. Sano's investigation has barely begun when violent death claims another of the shogun's favorites.

    With his wife, Reiko, working undercover, Sano and his chief retainer, Hirata, must not only investigate multiple deaths, but stem the tide of an impending civil war.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 17th Century Japan Mystery!
    I was first introduced to Laura Rowland's series through an online book club that I subscribe to (dearreader.com). The first book I read in the series was The Dragon King Palace and I was immediately hooked. I liked the book so much that I went all over the web to buy used editions of previous books in the series in hardcover for my personal collection. I have so far read 4 of the 9 books: Black Lotus, The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria (amazing plot!), The Dragon King Palace, and The Perfumed Sleeve. I'll now go back and read the first 5 books in order. Although it's fine to read these books as stand alone novels, I suggest reading them in order because there are some spoilers about the previous books interspersed in the later ones. Also, you'll become more familiar with the characters and better understand how they relate to each other.

    I lived in Japan for eight years and yet I have learned so much about Japanese culture through these books. If you liked James Clavell's Shogun and enjoy mysteries full of plot twists, history, and interesting characters, then I think you'll really like this series. Keep on with the great work, Laura! I look forward to reading book 10 next year!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Simply a repeat of her previous books
    I think I have read all of Rowland's Ichiro books. They are becoming tiresome. It is roughly the same story told a few different ways, and the outcome is obvious from the beginning. The usual villain appears in each book, and it is clear from the ending of this one that this individual will continue to cause much the same trouble as he has thus far. The character of the villain's wife is simply ridiculous. The main characters that Rowland has created are likeable and interesting, if not particularly representative of feudal Japan. But I'm disappointed in Rowland and likely will pass by her next book. I read this one to the end, but could have put it aside at any time and not cared. I'd read it before in her previous books.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good story but bad history
    This would be a 3.5 stars. Perfumed Sleeve was my first Laura Joh Rowland's novel I read, given to me by a friend. I enjoyed the general plot, the writing was smooth and its flow nicely and overall, I liked the characters. As a murder-mystery goes, this book actually impressed me. The investigation, premise and power politics that was moving around the main character, Sano, proves to be a good page turner.

    However, my major gripes come with historical premise of the book which revealed the author's lack of understanding of Tokugawa politics which lead the story into the realm of historical fantasy instead of fiction. While not to nitpick but these are the list of some of the major errors:
    1) The term "elder" was used to described a retired person
    from active service, a honorifed title. I think the proper
    term the author wanted to use was "Roju".
    2) Just because you are the Shogun's favorite lover boy don't
    make you his heir. In fact, in history, such lover boys are
    automatically barred from such event.
    3) Its sheer silliness to think that a non-Tokugawa like
    Yanagisawa could even think that his boy could even be
    considered to be the next Shogun.
    4) Matsudaira was a name of junior branch of the Tokugawa
    Clan. No Shogun, even one as befudded as the one in this
    book would promote a member of a very junior branch to
    such high position and risk the wrath of the three major
    branches of the entire clan....Tokugawa of Owari, Mito and
    Kii provinces. Not only that, no man would called the
    Shogun "Honored Cousin" in front of everyone, even if that
    Shogun was brain dead. Such informality simply don't exist
    outside of total privacy between two men.
    5) No one in his right mind, will risk destruction of his
    house by open warfare. This is sheer fantasy on the
    author's part. Doesn't anyone remembered the fate of the
    "47 Ronins" story??
    6) Finally, the author uses the words "Asakura Jinja Shrine"
    couple of times in the book. In English, that would be
    "Asakura Shrine Shrine" since the word "Jinja" means
    shrine.
    7) One last tidbit...in the beginning, the author uses the
    words "Shogun" and "dictator" interchangably. A sign of
    uneducated historian since an educated one knows of the
    massive differences between the two.

    But in the end, if you accepted the historical fantasy of the book, I thought it was a highly acceptable murder-mystery and despite of my feeling about the author's historical ability, I enjoyed her writing and I am encouraged to read other books of this series.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Mystery
    This is a murder mystery set in 19th century Japan. I picked it up at the library solely because of the beautiful front cover. It was intriguing to read; containing all the qualities of an American mystery but filled with numerous interesting facts concerning the Japanese culture. I found myself learning as well as being entertained by the story. My only true disappointment was discovering, after I started reading, that this book is the 9th in a series. I'm positive that I would have enjoyed the storyline more if I had read the other 8 books as much of the character background left me confused. There were often remarks concerning events in the previous books, sure to make a less observant reader wonder if they had skipped some pages. However, I do intend to look for the previous books as I found the characters intriguing, the plot filled with twists and turns, and overall, the entire book was very enjoyable. Many times, I was fooled, thinking I had figured out the mystery until finally the truth was revealed in the end. One word of warning, there are several very graphic sexual scenes. I would not recommend this to a younger reader; definitely intended for the adult audience.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read, but....
    ...if you look at this latest novel in the series objectively, you see an extremely heavy emphasis on sex, and a somewhat contrived plot...and, definitely, the very obvious setting for future confrontations between the main characters! Ms. Rowland is apparently letting her focus drift a bit to satisfy her publisher. ... Read more


    16. The Hanging Garden (An Inspector Rebus Novel)
    by Ian Rankin
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312969139
    Catlog: Book (1999-09-15)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
    Sales Rank: 52220
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    The Hanging Gardens of Babylon... The hanging of four French villagers in World War II... The hanging of an old man in a Scottish cemetary... Seemingly random facts linked to one man...

    Detective Inspector John Rebus is buried under a pile of paperwork generated by his investigations into a suspected war criminal, and his immediate supervisors are more than happy to have him tucked away in a quiet backwater for several months. However, the escalating dispute between upstart Tommy Telford and Big Ger Cafferty's gang soon gives Rebus an escape clause. Telford is known to have close ties to a man nicknamed Mr. Pink Eyes, a brutal gangster running a lucrative business bringing Chechen refugees into Britain to work as prostitutes. And when Rebus takes under his wing a distraught Bosnian call girl, it gives him a personal reason to make sure Telford takes the high road out of town. Within days, Rebus's daughter is the victim of an all-too-professional hit-and-run, and Rebus knows that there's nothing he won't do to bring down prime suspect Tommy Telford--even if it means cutting a deal with the devil.

    A chilling glimpse into the darkest extremes of human cruelty, a page-turning literary thriller, this ninth entry in Ian Rankin's award-winning series confirms his reputation as a writer of rare and lasting gifts.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (12)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hanging by every word in the page
    This is my first Ian Rankin novel and it will definitely not be my last. John Rebus is a complex character who is battling his own personal demons. He is an Edinburgh Detective Inspector who is a recovering alcoholic and who is trying to reconnect with his daughter, Sammy, after many years of separation.

    In this novel, Sammy is a victim of a hit-and-run and is currently unconscious in the hospital; a gang war is brewing and seems that the Yakuza might be involved; and an elderly man is being investigated as a Nazi war criminal. Rebus is trying to save Karina, a Bosnian refugee who is working as a prostitute in the streets of Edinburgh. Rankin does an excellent job with characterization giving depth to all the supporting players involved in the story. He focuses on their strengths as well as their weaknesses and does a great job in showing irony on several occasions.

    The author knows how to structure the story. He makes use of flashbacks without warning the readers. It helps one to appreciate the then as well as the now. The story is not linear and it helps one to understand the motivation of most of the characters. I enjoyed my first John Rebus novel and I hope that all the others are as good as this one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hanging On Every Word
    Ian Rankin captivates the reader again with this intriguing novel about gang turf wars, Nazi war criminals, prostitutes shipped to Britain from Bosnia, and crooked business deals with Japanese gangsters. Reality hits home when personal tragedy confronts Inspector John Rebus - his daughter is the target of a hit-and-run which appears to be related to the cases Inspector Rebus is currently pursuing. As usual, he becomes irretrievably involved in all these sub-plots to the detriment of his personal and professional relationships. This is all par for the course as Inspector Rebus cannot help but find some sort of tie-in between each case. Ian Rankin puts a very real face on the workings of a city's police force. The humor is always there with great one-liners courtesy of Inspector Rebus, usually uttered when he is on the carpet in front of his superiors. And there's an unexpected and interesting twist at the end.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Above-Average Police Drama
    It's perhaps a bit inaccurate to call the Rebus novels "mysteries" in that there is often little mystery to the goings-on. Rankin is a very good writer, but what he does best is setting up strong, shocking, and sometimes moving police precedurals around seeming mysteries. Like the other Rebus books I've read, the resolution to the main mysteries is a bit weak, especially when compared to the other events in the book.

    So that alone puts the Rebus books a bit below the Morse or Dalgleish novels. However, John Rebus is almost as memorable as a plainclothesman as his English counterparts, rougher around the edges than either, hard to take but sympathetic. He makes the books move as he bounces around, as we see him through the eyes of his colleagues and his enemies. He's not an easy hero to like, but is an easy man to feel for. The rest of the cast, some totally heinous, others much more pure, set him to sharp relief. And the setting, while most likely not at all the true Edinburgh, helps a lot too.

    Compared to American novles of this ilk, this series is a stunning gem. Mystery and police drama fans alike could do far worse.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fine little book, this.
    Ian Rankin, The Hanging Garden (St. Martin's Press, 1998)

    In a couple of months of reading almost nothing save mysteries, The Hanging Garden stood out as the best of the lot. Rankin is capable of weaving clues into a narrative with the deftest hand in a British mystery author since Colin Wilson, and his characters are more than engaging enough; as with most series mysteries, reading them out of order is liable to drop the reader into the middle of a plotline, and so it is here. The soap opera quality is not, however, as intrusive as it is in, say, the Spenser novels of Robert Parker. Funny, unexpectedly sweet at times, and more contemplative than your usual mystery novel. Rankin is something of a change of pace for the mystery reader, and a refreshing one he is. *** ½

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Dark Mystery
    The Hanging Garden is about John Rebus and several investigations concerning (1) a local gang war; (2) the hit and run attack on his daughter; and (3) a person who is possibly a WWII Nazi who has escaped prosecution. Rebus has lots of depth. His problems with alcohol and his family are well documented. He struggles with his problems, as in previous novels. This lends a depth to him. His efforts to determine whether the possible nazi was really a nazi are interesting. The retired nazi is a well-drawn character with lots of quirks to keep the reader guessing about whether he is or is not a nazi. The book is well-plotted and is believable. The writing is solid. ... Read more


    17. From Doon with Death
    by RUTH RENDELL
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345348176
    Catlog: Book (1988-02-13)
    Publisher: Fawcett
    Sales Rank: 91155
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    When Margaret Parsons disappears, Inspector Burden tries to reassure her frantic husband that she will be back by morning. Privately, though, he is certain Margaret has run off with another man. But then the missing woman's body is found, strangled and abandoned in a nearby wood. And when Mr. Parsons lets the police into his home, a startling discovery leads everyone to question just who Margaret Parsons really was . . .
    ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sheer brilliance
    This is a superb debut. One of the best debut novels ever published, i feel, and a wonderful introduction to the best writer currently at work in any genre.

    Margaret Parsons is dead. She appeared to lead a very dull life. She had been a "good" woman. Religious, old-fashioned, and respectable, her life had been as spotless and ordinary as her home, as unexciting and dependable as her marriage.

    But it was not her life that interested Chief Inspector Reg Wexford, but her death. How could it be that such an ordinary, predictable woman could meet her end in such a death of passion and violence? For which there appears neither motive nor clue...

    Thus began Ruth Rendell's writing career. The rest, as they say, is history.

    Already, so very early on, we are shown the immense talents of a brilliant author. Tight and complex plotting. First-class writing. Realistic and believeable characters. Good psychology, and an ability to shock and surprise which can make you feel uncomfortable.

    This novel really has stood the test of time. Even after about 20 other Wexford novels, this still remains as one of my favourites. (If not THE favourite) The story is simply but expertly told. The murder mystery side of it all is told as deftly and deceptivelt as an Agatha Christie story, and the identity of the killer and is singularly unguessable. This novel has hints of Christie about it (who was still writing novels at the time this was published, and would have at least ten years left in her) in its style, but this novel is even better. This one retains all the things which made Christie famous, yet builds on her faults. Excellent and well drawn characters, and absolutely first class writing, with a great sense of atmosphere.

    This is a truly brilliant debut novel, which really deserves it's unique place in the Rendell archive.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A good into to Rendell
    This is the first book in the Wexford and Burden series by Rendell and it is a good read. The plot revolves around a missing housewife and distraight husband who is trying to find her. The trail weaves among many different people and ends in a surprise.

    This novel was written in 1964 and might seem a little bit outdated to some readers and the two main detectives are not developed yet. However, the story moves along well and keeps one interested til the end. A good start to a great series.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Who is Doon ?
    This is the first of Ruth Rendell's books and we are thrust into the death of Margaret Parson's. All we have are the inscriptions in books from Doon, who is Doon and what is the link to Margaret? I was so pleased to come across this novel. the first in the series of Wexford novels. This book will have you wondering who is Doon ? and you won't know till the final pages. A very good first novel and as we know the rest is history.

    4-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME READ
    I read this book a long time ago and was surprised to see that more people had not read this one. This was my first Rendell book and I have been hooked ever since. It was done simply and masterfully. The author does an magnificent job of keeping the reader guessing along with the Inspectors. Wrapping your brain around this one should be fun. If this is your first mystery/thriller or a book you are just discovering, you shouldn't be disappointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A memorable debut
    This was Ruth Rendell's first novel and it is apparent during reading it that this was the debut of a highly gifted writer. The characters and descriptions are vivid and skillfully woven (that vase of hydrangeas in the library remains in my head) and the plot is intriguing and clever. ... Read more


    18. Close to Home: A Novel of Suspense
    by Peter Robinson
    list price: $7.50
    our price: $6.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0061031097
    Catlog: Book (2004-01)
    Publisher: Avon Books
    Sales Rank: 195038
    Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    There are human bones buried in an open field, the remains of a lost teenaged boy whose disappearance devastated a community more than thirty-five years ago ... and scarred a guilt-ridden friend forever.

    A long-hidden horror has been unearthed, dragging a tormented policeman back into a past he could never truly forget no matter how desperately he tried. A heinous crime that occurred too close to home still has its grip on Chief Inspector Alan Banks -- and it's leading him into a dark place where evil still dwells. Because the secrets that doomed young Graham Marshall back in 1965 remain alive and lethal -- and disturbing them could cost Banks much more than he ever imagined.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    4-0 out of 5 stars For a leisurely read, this mystery will not let you down
    "They were linked in his mind in some odd way. Not technically, of course, but two very different boys from very different times had ended up dead before their time, and both had died violently. Banks wanted to know why, what it was about these two children that had attracted such cruel fate." So thinks Detective Alan Banks as he seeks answers to the mysteries currently on his plate.

    CLOSE TO HOME by Peter Robinson is the latest in the Alan Banks mystery series and the Yorkshire Detective Chief Inspector demonstrates why the mystery genre continues to draw new fans. The discovery of the bones of Graham Marshall, a boyhood "mate" of the inspector, leads him back to his hometown in hopes of helping to resolve the case. Solving a 30 year-old murder would be difficult enough, but when the threads begin to unravel cover-ups and well kept secrets, the task becomes almost impossible.

    Meanwhile, in his own bailiwick, another youngster has disappeared. This time it is fifteen year-old Luke Armitage who may have been kidnapped and then murdered. The pieces of evidence surrounding the case just don't fit and, once again, determination and dedication finally help uncover the key elements.

    The two investigations are conducted simultaneously and Robinson moves the action effortlessly between Yorkshire and Peterborough. With his co-worker and former lover, Detective Inspector Anne Cabbot, following leads in the current case, Banks can spend time with DI Michelle Hart working on the Graham case. The women and the characters in each location are well defined so you never find yourself wondering which case is being discussed.

    CLOSE TO HOME offers plenty of crisp dialogue, seasoned with enough English flavoring to make it interesting. On this side of the ocean we smile as we get an inside look at pubs named The Pig and Whistle and The Woolpack. And did you know that in England a police lineup is called an identity parade? A book of mug shots is a villains' album? And to waste time is to piss about? I haven't quite figured out all the ramifications of "sod" and maybe I shouldn't even ask!

    Peter Robinson also has a knack for including trivia and triggers nostalgic feelings when he flashes back to the 60's. The pace of the story was a little slow at times but never enough to distract from the unfolding stories. Avid mystery fans will be delighted with the opportunity of solving these two cases along with the police. For a leisurely read, CLOSE TO HOME will not let you down.

    --- Reviewed by Maggie Harding

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Entry
    This Peter Robinson mystery is one of the best available,
    and it is truly difficult to put down once started.
    The hero, Chief D.I. Alan Banks is a complex character, in
    both his professional and his personal life, and this book
    continues his evolution as he continues to think about his
    ex-wife, as well as his 2 children and their careers, and as
    he wonders frequently where his personal life is headed.
    Plus, he is facing "burn-out," as the murders and criminals
    he faces routinely blunt his emotions and feelings, and he
    fears he is withdrawing from some of his professional life.
    The story revolves around 2 missing children, one of which
    becomes his current case when the teen-age boy is found dead,
    and the other of which was his buddy when he disappeared in
    1965. There are so many parallels, Banks worries about both
    cases, and he is drawn to the investigation of the old 1965
    case in his hometown of Petersborough, while handling the
    investigation of the other boy in his own jurisdiction of
    North Yorkshire.
    While Banks worries about his relationship with one of his
    detectives, Annie, he meets up with an intriguing red-haired,
    green-eyed woman detective, Michelle, who is working the
    old 1965 case with new clues. So Banks has a lot on his
    mind as he unravels one mystery, and he gets fully involved
    in the second.
    Both cases involve personal danger to both Banks and his staff,
    and there is plenty of action, as well as the intellectual
    stimulation Robinson puts together, and this is a very
    satisifiying book, and one that is highly recommended.
    Plus, you can learn a lot about English countryside life
    and work, while Banks visits his retired parents and makes
    the rounds while helping with the 1965 case.
    Entertaining and fun.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not his best.
    While digging up an area for a new shopping center near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, the skeletal remains of a teen is found. Forensic experts were able to get many clues, even a possible first name of the victim!

    Graham Marshall had disappeared back in 1965. No one knew if he had run away or worse. Detective Inspector Michelle Hart was given the case, being the "new girl" in the force. She was surprised when Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks showed up hoping to help.

    Alan had known Graham as a kid and had last seen Graham the day before the disappearance. Alan had kept a secret all these years and the guilt forced him back from an extended vacation in hope of releaving his guilty conscience. Alan ended up disturbing things best left alone and put his life/sanity on the line.

    *** This title is labeled as "suspense", however, it takes over half the book before any suspense begins to build. Until then it is all mystery solving and D.I. Hart dealing with what appears to be another case (kidnapping). This is definitely NOT this author's best work, but still worthy as a good read. ***

    Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Engrossing story"
    I enjoy the writing style of Peter Robinson. I think he has a strong author's voice as far as being a writer goes. His characters are believable and his plots are always well-developed and interesting. I find these things to be a very appealing combination. I think most readers will appreciate the many talents of this writer's 'Close to Home.'

    5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it
    I read this book on audio CD. It was modern, yet had the classic elements that keep you interested. The author treated me as if I was an intelligent reader! The plot was complicated in a good way, and it didn't bog down, although it is a long novel. I didn't want it to end. The conclusion didn't let me down; it wasn't predictable.

    The references to music, which accompany the story all the way along, will either delight you or drive you mad. I thought it was very creatively done.

    The reader, Ron Keith, was fantastic. I'm writing him a fan letter. ... Read more


    19. The Babes in the Wood (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
    by RUTH RENDELL
    list price: $13.00
    our price: $9.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400034191
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-12)
    Publisher: Vintage
    Sales Rank: 24771
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In The Babes in the Wood Ruth Rendell brings her keen psychological insight and rigorous moral sense to bear on Wexford’s assumptions about the way people behave, including his own family, as he investigates the mysterious disappearance of two teenagers and their babysitter.

    There hadn’t been anything in living memory like the kind of rain that had caused the River Brede to burst its banks and flood the homes in the area. The Subaqua Task Force could find no trace of the missing teenagers and their babysitter…but their mother was still convinced that her children were dead.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Family Matters.
    Rendell does a masterful job of spinning together the twin threads of crime and family in this novel. In _Babes in the Woods_ the crime is not what you think, families are not what you think, and you find that when the floods recede, most appearances can be deceiving.

    One of the better Wexford mysteries, and well worth reading.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Rendell Hit!
    Ruth Rendell seldom disapoints and I cannot think of any book in the Wexford series that is less that 5 stars. Besides being a clever mystery writer, each book takes us further into the lives of Inspector Wexford and his family. As he and Mike Burden undertake to solve the disapearance of children from a very strange family, his own family's problems keep him busy as well. I think that a great deal of the pull of each successive novel in this series is that we know we are going to have a great visit with some old friends we are happy to see again. That and Ms Rendell's wonderful writing makes each new book a reason for celebrating!

    5-0 out of 5 stars More from Rendell on top form
    This has got to be one of the best Wexford tales RR has written yet.

    It is brilliantly written, as always, and there is a wonderful cast of characters, all of whom we almost invariably either like or despise. Wexford is on fine form, and he is fascinating as ever. His wry observations of life, and his opinions (while we may not agree with them always) make him seem very human, and he is a very interesting characters for us to see the story through the eyes of. Once again, Burden tags along, and provides an edge of distinct grey in his character. However, this time he doesnt get quite as much of a role as he has in the past.

    The plot is original and absolutely fascinating. The way it unfolds is unfalteringly engrossing, and even though this is no thriller, its still a huge pageturner and its intriguing, exciting, and Ruth Rendell builds layer upon layer of nice plot turns into the story.

    In the beginning, we are presented with an almost inexplicable set of human behaviours, and, through the events of her plot, Rendell excellently explains why people sometimes act in such strange ways, which is part of the reason why this book is so fascinating. the mystery contains many more levels than just the "who?" or "how?", but she delves deep into the character's psyche's, giving reason to every single characters often strange actions. Finding out "why" people do such strange things is almost as compelling as the mystery itself.

    Along the way, we are also presented with some more brilliant story from wexford's own family life. Topping the book off is the fact that Kingsmarkham is flooding, which gives the story an extra layer of originality and interest, and also allowing her plot to go down different, more unconventional avenues.

    The final conclusion is unexpected and satisfying.

    I can't wait for what she has to offer us next year. Ruth Rendell's crown is showing absolutely no signs of tarnishing, even after all the many, many years she's been wearing it. ... Read more


    20. Wolf to the Slaughter (Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries (Paperback))
    by RUTH RENDELL
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345345207
    Catlog: Book (1987-05-12)
    Publisher: Fawcett
    Sales Rank: 16153
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    It was better than a hotel, this anonymous room on a secluded side street of a small country town. No register to sign, no questions asked, and for five bucks a man could have three hours of undisturbed, illicit lovemaking.

    Then one evening a man with a knife turned the love nest into a death chamber. The carpet was soaked with blood -- but where was the corpse?

    Meanwhile, a beautiful, promiscuous woman is missing -- along with the bundle of cash she'd had in her pocket. The truth behind it all will keep even veteran mystery fans guessing through the very last page.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely stunning
    Anita Margolis, young, beautiful, carefree, has vanished into thin air. She left her home to attend a party one wet evening, but has not been seen since. She is reported missing soon after by her brother, whom she shared a flat with, the acclaimed but eccentric artist Rupert Margolis. Inspector Burden quickly forms an impression of a wanton young girl simply gone off somewhere with a boyfriend having neglected to let anyone know. After all, she was that sort of woman, in Burden's opinion. However, Wexford has his doubts, and those doubts will soon be confirmed, and they will soon find themselves enmeshed in a case that will throw every assumption they make into doubt.

    This is an early Wexford book, and it is brilliant. A simple notion, but true. One of the best of the entire series, actually, the fact of its quality equally matches that of the novels she is still producing and marks her out clearly as possibly the most reliable and captivating novelist of her generation, such is her constant unfailing ability. She writes absolutely brilliantly, with an emotional detachedness that makes it so much more powerful when she decides that now is the time to probe in the darkness of a particular characters mind and motivations. And those characters are unendingly fascinating, completely human yet with a shadowy darkness to them, and flawlessly depicted.

    But it is not just her characters that mark her books out as special. Setting and story meld in equally with character in the most successful books to create a compelling whole, and Rendell accomplishes this with ease. The fictional Kingsmarkham is almost as tangible and atmospheric as the London she uses as the setting for some of her other non-Wexford novels. The reader feels they could easily be supplanted into the story, onto the streets of this fictional town, and yet already know its environs intimately.

    And then, of course, the story too is near-perfect. It is dark, it is clever, it is affecting, it is psychologically acute, it is realistic (despite the false idea that these kind of traditional procedural novels tend not to be), it is engrossing, as well as being a plethora of other laudable adjectives as well. It shifts and moves and surprises and has excellent pace, carrying the reader through on a breathless ride - secured in by the mesmeric hand-at-your-throat grip of the prose - until a tension-filled conclusion, which leaves more than one character irredeemably altered for life.

    Wolf to the Slaughter is simply yet another excellent novel from the woman who is, in my mind, the best writer in the world today. And that is all there is to it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Affecting and tautly-plotted mystery
    Ruth Rendell is a talented writer, but I often have problems with elements of her plots being a little bit predictable-- this is definitely not the case with _Wolf to the Slaughter_. The book constantly suprises and manages to do so without any deus ex machina tricks that might make it unconvincing.

    A mysterious note that claims someone was murdered, a stain on a carpet that may or may not be blood, and a gold lighter with a leading inscription-- these are the only clues that Wexford and his crew have to what might not even be a crime. Mix in a slightly mad painter, three women who gave their hearts unwisely, and a young policeman in love for the first time and you've got a compelling mystery novel which is one of the best Rendells I've read to date.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Rendell cements her reputation with this one!
    Ruth Rendell's Chief Inspector Wexford mysteries are important entries to the police procedural genre. This, the second of the series, is probably the book that cemented Rendell's decision to continue. The daughter of local artist Rupert Margolis hasn't been home in a few days, but her father isn't reporting her disappearance. No, instead, he is filling out inquirings for someone to help him manage his household in his daughter's stead! And then Wexford receives a note that says daughter Ann has been murdered, and the suspects name given. With his ever-present second in command Mike Burden, Wexford begins his investigation, characterized by methodical thinking and well-paced moving! The plot becomes ever so convoluted--but don't give up. Rendell is in complete charge (it's one of her longer Wexfords) and by the conclusion her logial thinking, clever plot execution, and expert character development have won the day.

    "Wolf to the Slaughter" is also perhaps one of Rendell's most suspense-filled books (of the Wexford series). A local hotel has been letting one of its rooms as a love nest, but when a man with a knife one evening gets through with it, it is a room of blood, violence, and death. But whose? There's no corpse to be found! Wexford and Burden take over and the pages turn automatically after this, as Rendell's heros leave no stone unturned--nor sheet unfurled! Rendell has published many other books that are not in the series (she also writes under the name of Barbara Vine) and, with each, she clearly knows what she's writing about--she's a master here. And the surprise ending is handled masterly, too! (Billyjhobbs@tyler.net)

    4-0 out of 5 stars An Early Chief Inspector Wexford Mystery
    Fans of Ruth Rendell who await each new Chief Inspector Wexford mystery from Ruth Rendell may wish to go back to her early works. Wolf to the Slaughter was her second Wexford mystery, written 33 years ago but with no loss of appeal for today's readers. Unworldly artist Rupert Margolis goes to the Kingsmarkham police, not to report that his younger sister Ann is missing, but to seek help finding someone to manage his household since Ann hasn't come home for several days. At the same time, Wexford receives an anonymous note reporting that a young woman named Ann was murdered by a small dark young man named Geoff Smith.

    The book has the elements we have come to appreciate in Ruth Rendell mysteries, including the slow steady unraveling of the mystery by Wexford and his chief assistant Mike Burden, methodically tracking down the few leads, when they don't even have the victim's body; and an array of real human characters, such as the aging Ruby Branch, who supports the man she loves, Monkey Matthews, an ex-con well known to the Kingsmarkham police, by renting out a room for the evening no questions asked; Noreen Anstey, abandoned by her second husband, now regretting the wrong she did to her first, living alone and having to sell off her remaining valuables; and Mark Drayton, the young police officer who never lets himself get seriously involved with any young women while he works hard to advance in the police force. It's Wexford's and Burden's keen understanding of human nature that helps put the pieces of this mystery together and leads them to the victim and the killer. The two play off each other well: Burden coming up with an important insight into the identity of the predator in the case, and Wexford pulling the sequence of events all together in a surprise finish. ... Read more


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