Rankin, Ian. Mortal Causes.

NY: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Edinburgh’s International Festival of Drama and Music brings in several hundred thousand visitors every summer, making it an important contribution to the local economy, but to DI John Rebus, the Festival is a guaranteed P.I.T.A.

The local thugs and estate-based gangs prey on the crowds of out-of-towners, parking places disappear entirely, and there’s sure to be a leavening of violent crime he will have to deal with. In this case, a young guy is discovered in an Old Town cellar undergoing renovation, dangling from a meat hook and having received a “six-pack” — pistol shots through both knees, elbows, and ankles, plus, this time, an extra shot in the head. It’s a combination punishment and warning to others favored by the IRA, as Rebus recognizes from his stint in the army in Belfast. This gets him started in an investigation of ethnic terrorist groups operating in Scotland, mostly in support of one side or the other in Northern Ireland — but it doesn’t take him long to suspect he’s being led astray.

Rankin’s Edinburgh is far from the city depicted by Alexander McCall Smith and sectarian conspiracy and violence is a part of their history and culture even most residents of the city would rather not think about. The author, however, tells an exciting and suspenseful story.

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Published in: on 9 June 2013 at 5:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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