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Mortal Causes [Paperback]

Ian Rankin
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Aug 1995

It is August in Edinburgh and the Festival is in full swing...

A brutally tortured body is discovered in one of the city's ancient subterranean streets and marks on the corpse cause Rebus to suspect the involvement of sectarian activists. The prospect of a terrorist atrocity in a city heaving with tourists is almost unthinkable.

When the victim turns out to be the son of a notorious gangster, Rebus realises he is sitting atop a volcano of mayhem - and it's just about to erupt.


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Mortal Causes + Let It Bleed + The Black Book
Price For All Three: £20.29

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (7 Aug 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752883585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752883588
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,676 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 and the Open University.

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 partner 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

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

Here are the Jack Harvey novels in series order:

Witch Hunt
Bleeding Hearts
Blood Hunt

Product Description

Book Description

The sixth Inspector Rebus novel - 'an outstanding creation' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

About the Author

Ian Rankin is a regular No.1 bestseller, and has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Diamond Dagger. He lives with his family in Edinburgh, and in 2003 received an OBE for his services to literature.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Troubles In Edinburgh 20 Nov 2003
Format:Paperback
After a particularly gruesome murder is discovered during Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, Inspector John Rebus is seconded to the elite Scottish Crime Squad. The reason for this is that aspects of the murder make it appear that a terrorist group was responsible and Rebus’s previous SAS experience would come in handy. The investigation takes him from his home base to the villages of rural Scotland and across to Belfast and back again.
Throughout the book, the Catholic versus Protestant problem is continually raised, comparing Scotland to the Troubles in Northern Ireland and suggesting that the same uprising could be imminent. While the characters were discussing terrorist organisations there were enough three letter acronyms being bandied about to make me think I might have stumbled into a Microsoft manual.
Once again we are treated to the bare bones of Edinburgh’s back streets and dingy estates that have fallen into ruin. Rebus is as inscrutable and removed from his fellow officers as ever, yet, at least for me, he is becoming more and more likable. I feel this series is getting more and more enjoyable with every book I read, this one is no exception.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rankin getting better by the book 14 July 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is the 6th of Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series that I've read and it is first rate storytelling all the way. While some books are better than others, as a whole, I give this series 5 stars. The language is straight-forward yet so eloquent in its simplicity and vividly captures the underside of Edinburgh. Having once visited Edinburgh, it's interesting to read about this side of the city at the same time as associating with the landmarks, streets and locations that I saw as a tourist. Inspector John Rebus as the protagonist is the key factor in the series' success -- a flawed character, dark and troubled, whose personal life is a mess and who pushes the limits professionally -- but entirely credible and entirely committed to ridding his city of the lowlifes who degrade it. Warts and all, Rebus is likeable and holds the reader's sympathy and respect. By this point, many series start showing signs of fatigue and waning quality, Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series being a case in point. This series only seems to get better.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This book is typical of Rankin: the superb writing style that he is so reknowned for is only too evident in this chilling story. Rankin describes the city of Edinburgh in such vivid detail that you feel you know the place like the back of your hand. Never before has the reader been allowed to enter so far into Rebus' personal life and, when he wants someone to talk to, as the reader you feel guilty that you are not there to offer support. This novel is unbelievable and makes the reality of events in Northern Ireland feel even closer to home.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A accurate portrayal 14 Sep 2005
Format:Paperback
This is the 8th novel of Ian Rankin's featuring Insp Rebus I've read, and I was suitably impressed with his portrayal of the situation in Northern Ireland. Having been born in Londonderry and grown up in the Province, it was refreshing to read an accurate account of day-to-day life there, the RUC and the mindset of the locals. I take my hat off to Mr Rankin, its unusual for someone not from the North of Ireland, to reflect the "troubles" with accuracy and not "beef" them up to make it look like you can't get off the plane without being lined up in front of a firing squad! which I have found to be the case with someone who thinks thats what its like to live there or even when visiting there. He's obviously done his research well. Thank you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! 25 Sep 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The sixth novel in the Rebus series, and possibly the best.
When a brutally tortured body is found in Mary Kings Close in the height of the festival sporting Sectarian markings, Rebus is sent to work with the Scottish Crime Squad on the case. As the body count grows Rebus is forced to enter the deadly and twisted world of extreme Loyalist terrorists, and a case that takes him from Belfast to the remotest Scottish islands. As well as this Big Ger Cafferty has escaped from prison and is looking for Rebus, and he also has to deal with a rejected lover out for revenge.
This enthralling book will have you hooked from the first page to last, a brilliant read and the best so far. Buy it and you won't be dissapointed!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very difficult to put down! 6 Oct 2001
Format:Paperback
This is the first Ian Rankin Novel that I've read.
I decided to buy a couple of the Rebus books after watching the television adaptations starring John Hannah. The way that Rankin can bring a scene to life with words on a page is uncanny - even down to the little mannerisums of the characters. I highly recommend this book to any reader of crime drama.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing book 6 Aug 2014
By Nick
Format:Paperback
This is the first Ian Rankin book that I've read, and I was very disappointed, having heard such great things about his writing. I didn't buy the book from Amazon, but I logged on to read reviews here after I read the book. I was hoping to see that it was not considered one of his stronger ones, as this would have given me hope that the rest of the Rebus series would be worth exploring. Unfortunately this doesn't seem to be the case.

The book is certainly readable and entertaining enough; I never regretted having started it, and I didn't find that it was a chore to push through to the end. But Rankin, or at least the Rankin that wrote this book, seems extremely overrated as a writer, both as a crime writer and more generally as a writer who can offer important insights into the human experience.

The plot line of Mortal Causes is very implausible, both in its overall arc and in the twists and turns it takes along the way, and the the quality of the writing at the level of individual sentences and paragraphs doesn't make up for it. The dialogue is unnatural, and far too often is used to deliver information to the reader that should have been revealed instead by the narrator's background voice. The characters are, in the main, thinly developed and not very realistic. E.g., the main bad guy in this book is someone named Davey Soutar, and yet despite his appearance throughout the book in many places, at the end the reader knows almost nothing about him -- he's just a peg on which a few cliches hang ('bad guy', 'from the council estate', 'gun runner', 'terrorist', etc.). In the hands of a gifted writer Davey Soutar would have lifted himself from the page as a real person, he would seem to have the heft that real people do.
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