Edinburgh detective Inspector John Rebus is called in to investigate the disappearance of pretty young student Philippa Balfour. As the chances of finding her alive become increasingly remote, the only clues seem to be an internet-based game on the missing girl's computer, and a tiny coffin which seems to be linked to a case from the past.
This report prepared by Stephen Coombs
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.
This report prepared by Vicky Shultz
St. Martin's, Nov 2001, 24.95, 400 pp.
For two days Philippa “Flip” Balfour has been missing, which is so out of character for the student, the police are already involved. Now it might be that the influence of her powerful father led to the early investigation by Edinburgh Inspector John Rebus.
He quickly uncovers two potential clues. One is hand carved wooden doll in a small coffin and the other is Flip's love of participating in an Internet role playing game. John tracks the dark history of the small coffins while Detective Constable Siobhan Clarke joins the Internet crowd that Flip had belonged to before vanishing. Though information is collected on both fronts, progress on the case is slow and the police have not found the link tying the two clues together, leaving this missing person investigation look more like another one for the unsolved files.
The latest John Rebus tale contains all the right stuff that has made this one of the best on going police procedural series on the market today. John and the support cast remain fresh due to little things happening to them and around them such as a thirty-year retirement of a peer. The story line combines historical and present Edinburgh, Internet technology, and the usual clues, puns, and puzzles so that the audience walks along side Rebus as he investigates. Ian Rankin will rank among the top of all the bestseller lists with this entertaining tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner