Thursday, November 19, 2015

Even dogs in the wild

Over the past few days, I've been reading Ian Rankin's latest Rebus novel, "Even dogs in the wild". This is a piece of pure vintage Rankin with the familiar characters of John Rebus, Siobhan Clarke and 'Big Ger' Cafferty along with recent addition Malcolm Fox taking part. Rebus may be retired but he acts as he has always acted; Clarke is always the stabilising force, and Fox allows Rankin some characterisation which doesn't normally appear (no spoilers!). Unfortunately, the older Rebus gets, the less he listens to music - although there is some form of explanation, saying that one of the loudspeakers in Rebus' flat is broken.

I'm not going to write much about the book as I am sure there will be review upon review which will do the job satisfactorily. I do like how the clues which become apparent right at the very end were skillfully sown into the narrative at the beginning; I only picked these up whilst rereading.

I want to write about one possible item which got through the copy editing and had me scratching my head (fortunately, it's not that important a point). The book starts with Fox having to clear his room as a team from Glasgow are coming in. Fox's boss says that there are six members of the team, and at one stage they are even named (Ricky Compston, Alec Bell, Beth Hastie, Bob Selway, Jake Emerson and Peter Hughes). Yet for some reason, there are only five desks in the room. Then there is this exchange:

‘Explains why my boss thought we were welcoming a team of six,’ Fox added.
‘Aye, someone at Gartcosh bolloxed that up – and got Ricky Compston raging at them for their efforts.’

In other words, it seems that Rankin had originally intended to write along the lines that Gartcosh ("now home to the Scottish Crime Squad) informed Edinburgh that six people were coming ... but only five arrived, the inference being that the missing person is a mole. This supposition supports the above quote. But somewhere along the long, six people actually did arrive, so the editing process messed this up.

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