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A Good Hanging

A Good Hanging contains a dozen short stories set
in Edinburgh
and involving Inspector Rebus. They''re a mixed bunch, but improve as the
collection progresses: some of the early stories hinge on clues that are signaled
so obviously it''s impossible not to notice them, while the later ones have more
substance to them, with development of character and setting.

Though there''s a twist to it, Sunday describes one of Rebus'' days off,
giving us a glimpse of his life at home. None of the stories approach thriller
level, but some achieve real tension ? when a juror goes investigating by
himself in the wrong end of town, for example. The stories range from the
depressing ? a sad tale of a bourgeois daughter ? and lowlife ? a story about a
peeping tom in a tenement block ? to the lighthearted ? in the closing Monstrous
Trumpet Rebus has to entertain a visiting French policeman and solve a high
society art heist.

Rankin seems strongest in areas that aren''t a good fit for the short story
and would be better treated in a novel. And on the basis of A Good Hanging
I''m prepared to try one of his novels.

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