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Knots And Crosses Paperback – 7 Aug 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; reissue edition (7 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752883534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752883533
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel was published in 1987, and the Rebus books are now translated into thirty-six languages and are bestsellers worldwide.

Ian Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He is the recipient of four Crime Writers' Association Dagger Awards including the prestigious Diamond Dagger in 2005. In 2004, Ian won America's celebrated Edgar Award for Resurrection Men. He has also been shortlisted for the Anthony Award in the USA, won Denmark's Palle Rosenkrantz Prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir and the Deutscher Krimipreis. Ian Rankin is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Abertay, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Hull, the Open University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

A contributor to BBC2's Newsnight Review, he also presented his own TV series, Ian Rankin's Evil Thoughts. Rankin is a number one bestseller in the UK and has received the OBE for services to literature, opting to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh, where he lives with his wife and two sons.

Here are the Inspector Rebus stories in series order:

Knots and Crosses
Hide and Seek
Tooth and Nail
Strip Jack
The Black Book
Mortal Causes
Let it Bleed
Black and Blue
The Hanging Garden
Dead Souls
Set in Darkness
The Falls
Resurrection Men
A Question of Blood
Fleshmarket Close
The Naming of the Dead
Exit Music
Standing In Another Man's Grave
Saints of the Shadow Bible

Short stories:
A Good Hanging - 12 Inspector Rebus mysteries
Beggars Banquet (non-Rebus short stories)
The Beat Goes On

Here are the Jack Harvey novels in series order:

Witch Hunt
Bleeding Hearts
Blood Hunt

Here are the Malcolm Fox novels in series order:

The Complaints
The Impossible Dead

Product Description


THE SCOTSMAN interviewed Ian in Orkney about the special Highland Park Rebus20 Whisky. This ran as a double page interview with Susan Mansfield on 23 November. In the same issue they ran a news story about the future of Rebus The announcement of the special Rebus20 whisky was coveraged in DAILY EXPRESS (23 Nov). THE SCOTSMAN ran a double page interview feature on Saturday 27 January to cover the announcement of the special Rebus20 ale from the Caledonian Brewery. WHISKY MAGAZINE ran a competition to win a bottle of Rebus20 and a signed copy of limited Collectors Edition of Knots and Crosses THE PUBLICAN ran a feature on the beer and whisky in the 27 March issue THE INDEPENDENT ran a news piece about the 20th anniversary mentioning the collector's edition and the beer and whisky Ian wrote a piece 'Why I Love Pubs' for THE PUBLICAN magazine 18 Jan MYSTERY SCENE (spring 07) ran cover story and 3-page feature on 20th anniversary. INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY ran a feature on 20th anniversary and Edinburgh for travel pages. This will be cover story on 25 March. SCOTTISH FIELD (1 May) ran feature on Ian choosing Highland Park for Rebus20 THE SCOTSMAN have run a week long charity auction from Saturday 17 March to raise money for Ian's favourite charity, Edinburgh-based SNIPS. This offers an array of prizes which readers can bid for on-line on Friday 23 March. The week was launched with an interview with Ian in the paper plus a feature on the Top 10 books that inspired his writing. There was also a free Highland Park miniature given away to all readers and full page adverts for the charity auction. The special Rebus 20 week culminates with a special free Ian Rankin short story book (also trailed with full page ad in Sat 17 March edition) given away with the Saturday 24 March edition. The week-long campaign has been supported by TV advertising by THE SCOTSMAN and has been heavily trailed in previous editions. TIMES ONLINE have recorded a podcast with Ian in Edinburgh about 20th anniversary and Edinburgh. R5 SIMON MAYO interview 19 March BBC RADIO SCOTLAND Fred Macaulay interview 19 March R2 'STEVE WRIGHT' did plug and giveaway EDINBURGH EVE NEWS ran piece on 29 May about Writers Museum Exhibition --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The very first Rebus novel from the No.1 bestselling author.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 74 people found the following review helpful By "copperwasherking" on 26 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
I was recommended to Rankin's works by a very well read friend of mine, who, fortunately, warned me that the Rebus novels improve with each subsequent book.
Having now read the next three books I can confirm that that statement is true, but I would strongly advise that anyone wanting to 'get into' Rebus should most definately read them in order as there are themes that run through the books, and you really do start to build up a very good mental picture of the inspectors life, loves, work colleagues and family.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 July 2007
Format: Paperback
'Knots and Crosses' is the first book in Rankin's Rebus series. Several young girls have been kidnapped and murdered in Edinburgh and the murderer seems intent on getting Rebus to pursue him by sending Rebus cryptic notes. All the notes contain either a knotted piece of twine or two crossed matches. To solve the case, Rebus must confront aspects of his past that he would much rather forget.

The introduction to the novel is really interesting as Rankin reflects on his work and points out the flaws that he now sees. It's fascinating to watch the progression of a novelist from their own perspective.

I liked the novel very much. It's short and pacey, but I think that the character develops much further in later novels and is more psychologically and intellectually realistic later on which is why I've only given it three stars. Nevertheless, recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Set in Edinburgh, 1985, this is the first novel featuring Detective Sergeant John Rebus. In the tradition of flawed detectives, he is divorced and has a stilted relationship with his daughter, Sammy and a distant one with his only brother, Michael. Living in a flat, his mattress on the floor and books piled all around him, Rebus is a rather grumpy character who both drinks and smokes too much. Leaving the army (specifically the SAS Special Assignment Group) he has had a breakdown before joining the police force. However, many of the memories that he has tried to block out are about to come back and haunt him.

Girls in the city are being abducted and murdered - girls of around the same age as Sammy. As Rebus becomes involved in both the investigation and with a colleague, Gill Templer, he is also intrigued by a series of anonymous notes, containing either pieces of knotted string or two matchsticks making a cross. Meanwhile, journalist Jim Stevens, is drawn to Rebus in the course of another story and, before long, Rebus finds that his life, and that of his family, is in danger as the past and present collide.

This is a good start to the series, although it is obvious that the author is in no way certain that Rebus will become a long running character and he is still trying to create his background and traits. However, if you are reading a series, I always think it is best to begin at the beginning and get a sense of how the characters develop. Obviously, this is a long running and very successful series and I look forward to reading on and feel glad that I have (finally) discovered it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John E. Davidson on 25 July 2005
Format: Paperback
This is the first book Ian Rankin's inspector Rebus series. I am a big fan of the whole series of books (which now runs to over a dozen books) and this is a good book, although it is far from the best book in the series.
The series...each of the books in the Rebus series is self-contained (in the sense that it deals with a case or group of cases) but there is significant character development through the series and it is best to read them in order (obviously starting at with this one). Ian Rankin is much better writer than the average crime writer. He has a number of strengths that make the Rebus series the most enjoyable contemporary crime series. Rankin's strengths include strong story telling, the ability to conjure up imagery quickly and effectively, strong characterisation and an excellent sense of place (he is particularly interested in exposing the seedy underbelly of Edinburgh). He writes well and does not rely on local patois or dialect (unlike Irvine Welch for example) - this has the advantage of making the books easier to read but it does lead to the sense of place occasionally faltering. For me, he is the best British crime writer, almost in the same league as Thomas Harris and James Ellroy. One of the strengths of the series is the central character, John Rebus. He is an interesting, flawed man - with a failed marriage behind him, a rather distant teenage daughter he barely knows, a traumatic military career (ultimately in the SAS) and something of a drinking problem. He is a curmudgeon - he has problems with dealing with authority but also expects absolute respect from the people below him in the hierarchy. He is not a team player, he likes to work alone and keep secrets. Despite all these flaws his passion, drive and humanity make him a sympathetic character.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Originally published in 1987, Knots and Crosses was Ian Rankin's second novel and the first to feature his enduringly popular creation John Rebus (Sergeant Rebus here, later Inspector Rebus).

Young girls are being murdered in Edinburgh, and a certain Sergeant Rebus is drafted from his usual work onto the murder enquiry team. Rebus has a troubled personal life, having suffered a breakdown upon leaving the army he is now divorced, melancholic and a little mentally unstable. He has things locked away in his head, memories buried so deep that he cannot remember them, even though they still haunt him. As well as the problem of the murders, someone seems to be stalking Rebus, sending him mysterious messages that are disquieting.

The book follows Rebus as he works away at the mundane aspects of the case, assigned to relatively boring paperchasing and door to door flat footing. Things soon hot up however, and Rebus finds himself plunged deeper into the case than he might like.

The book is an odd mix. The character of Rebus sometimes seems too outlandish to be believable, though most of the characterisations are essential to the plot. For all that, Rankin somehow manages to keep it believable, and Rebus comes across as an ordinary human being, not with any special powers of detection, but an ordinary copper who has been through the mill of life. Similarly some of the situations are a trifle out there, but Rankin always manages to keep it just on this side of real. The one thing that did come through was a sense of place. Rankin clearly knows Edinburgh very well, and his excellent prose describing the locales really evokes clear images in the mind's eye. It's not quite as polished or confident a book as his later works, to be expected for a writer just starting out. It's still an excellent read though.

4 stars for a pretty good book.
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