978-0-7528-5237-9 / 9780752852379

Beggar's Banquet





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About the book:

Beggars Banquet is something of a departure for Ian Rankin and a very welcome one. Over the years, Rankin has built up an imposing portfolio of short stories. Appearing in crime magazines, written for personal appearances, or as one-off radio specials, they all resound with the singular energy and idiosyncratic characterisation of his best full-length novels. A previous collection, A Good Hanging, combined some first-rate tales with more workaday material, but this time round there isn't a single weak link, and the range of stories here is astonishing; this is a panoply of Rankin's approach to crime and mystery writing, and is that rare thing in short story collections: a book in which the tales can be read one after the other with ever-increasing pleasure.

We are taken into territory that is horrific (The Hanged Man), grimly ironic (The Only True Comedian) and even sociological (Glimmer is a hard-edged picture of how the optimism and hedonism of the 60's was swiftly eroded). And who could resist lines such as the following (in Unknown Pleasures):

He could feel the sweat, even though it was more viscous than sweat& more like a sheen of cooking oil. The tenement stairwell smelt of deep-fried tomcat&

But perhaps you're the kind of reader who fights shy of short story collections? Well, if you're any kind of a DI Rebus fan (and what crime enthusiast isn't?), there are eight--count them--eight stories featuring our favourite Scottish copper. And who could say no to a collection so rich in Rebus? --Barry Forshaw

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