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The Naming of the Dead
By Ian Rankin

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The Naming of the Dead

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The Naming of the Dead
By Ian Rankin
Charnwood Large Print, 2006
ISBN: 978-1-84617-844-3
Genre: Crime, Mystery

Reviewed by Boris Segel - July 8, 2013

The Naming of the Dead is, by my account, the sixteenth book in the Inspector Rebus canon of mystery/crime novels. Written by Ian Rankin, it follows the continuing adventures of Detective Inspector John Rebus, and is set in Edinburgh, Scotland. The year is 2005, and the Inspector's career is on its decline, but he is not yet in his dotage. Sarcastic and sometimes downright rude, Rebus is a cop who is very good at getting the job done. The problem is, he often does it by breaking the very rules that he is suppose to be enforcing.

In this installment in the Rebus saga, the setting is very real. In July of 2005, Scotland was beset by protests and riots in response to the meeting of the G8 leaders. Rankin uses this backdrop as the main stage for The Naming of the Dead. Despite the G8 meeting being an 'all-hands-on-deck' affair, Rebus has not been called out to work on the G8 detail. Rather he has been assigned the unglamourous task of staying in the office to answer the phones and do some of the daily drudge work that keeps a police office running. The reason they are keeping him out of the lime light is that his bosses are afraid he will embarrass the department if he is allowed loose during the summit. That is, until an MP turns up dead, and only Rebus can handle the case.

At first this seems a cut and dried case of suicide. As Rebus digs into the case, he comes to think that the death might be connected to a string of murders that has been plaguing the city, and which might possibly be the work of a serial killer. To complicate matters, his friend and colleague, Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke is hot on the trail of a riot cop who roughed up her mother. Supposedly working together on the 'more important' of the two cases, Clarke is more interested in getting the cop that hit her mother. As a consequence, Rebus finds himself juggling both cases while also managing to step on the toes of superiors in both his own, and other departments.

If you have read any of the other books in the Rebus series, you already know what to expect in The Naming of the Dead, and you will not be disappointed. This is a typical Rankin police procedural that focuses on an atypical cop who defies authority, likes to drink more than is good for him, and who is very, very good at his job. If you have never 'met' Rebus before, feel free to jump right in with this book. While you might be missing out on some of the references to Rebus's former cases and life, these are not really important to the story and you will have no difficulty in following the story line even without knowing the entire back story of the series.

The Naming of the Dead is an excellent addition to the Rebus saga, and this large print edition from Charnwood large print makes the story accessible to those who need or desire large print books!


The Naming of the Dead can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of Charnwood Large Print.


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