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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good, but not quite as good as the novels
Between the feasts of his major Rebus novels, Ian Rankin offers up this appetiser of a collection of short stories. Although short, many of these tales are meaty and filling, and will surely satisfy Rankin's many fans.
Eight of the stories involve Inspector John Rebus, all are excellent. The others vary in time and location between modern London and eighteenth...
Published on 26 Aug 2002 by Dr. Sn Cottam

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Rankin I've come to love & revere.
Rankin is at his best when writing a full length novel especially about Rebus & Fox. Still a fair read.
Published 3 months ago by Mr. K. Robinson


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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good, but not quite as good as the novels, 26 Aug 2002
By 
Dr. Sn Cottam "Steve the medic" (Preston, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beggars Banquet (Hardcover)
Between the feasts of his major Rebus novels, Ian Rankin offers up this appetiser of a collection of short stories. Although short, many of these tales are meaty and filling, and will surely satisfy Rankin's many fans.
Eight of the stories involve Inspector John Rebus, all are excellent. The others vary in time and location between modern London and eighteenth century Edinburgh ("The Serpent's Back"), taking in an almost lyrical look at the Sixties ("Glimmer") on the way. Many of the stories show the adroit plotting and sense of place we associate with Ian Rankin, especially "The Hanged Man", "Video, Nasty", "The Scheme of Things" and "Somebody Got to Eddie", with their intelligent and well-plotted twists.
Perhaps the only problem with this collection, a lot more consistent than Rankins previous "A Good Hanging" (and that collection was a lot better than most writers' best), is that the Rebus novels are so outstanding. The novel format allows Rankin space for his excellent exploration of character (particularly the sympathetic portrayal of the flawed but resilient Rebus himself), the teasing out of often complex (but never overly so) plots, the superb sense of place (with the old city of Edinburgh an uncredited character) and, perhaps most impressive of all, the accurate and inspired evocation of modern Scotland in all its aspects.
But, before the main course, the starters, and while we eagerly await Rebus' next outing in "A Question of Blood", Ian Rankin ensures that we do not go hungry with this Beggars Banquet.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just Rebus - but definitely Rankin, 8 Aug 2002
By 
A. Mcalinden (Berkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beggars Banquet (Hardcover)
I've been a rare visitor to the short story genre since my schooldays, but the combination of Rankin and Rebus made this collection a must have.
For those of us addicted to this series, it is a rare pleasure to be able to visit Rebus' Edinburgh without seeing an entire day, or indeed weekend, disappear as we devour the latest installment from cover to cover.
And it's not just Rebus. As the "Jack Harvey" novels showed, Rankin is not afraid to mix styles and settings in this superb collection. Some of them aren't perfect, but they're all worth a read.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good short story collection, 9 Aug 2002
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Beggars Banquet (Hardcover)
This is a very good short story collection. Everything about it is first class, from the title and cover design, to the all-important content.
21 stories, 8 of which are Rebus, and all of which are excellent. I prefer the non-Rebus stories, though...the Rebus ones lack something the others contain, and the ones without him are nice and fresh, its good to read Rankin when hes not writing about Rebus. It showcases his talent more, giving us a bigger picture of what he can actually do.
The first story is a good opener, not too complex, with Rebus on good form. The stories that follow vary in their topic and style From the historical story "The Serpents Back", which is excellently written and evokes very well the spirit and atmopshere of old-Edinburgh, to "Glimmer" which is written in a strange, drealike, blunt, shifting style, about 60's culture.
For people who like twists, there are plenty of those to be had, in particular in "Someone's Got To Eddie" and "The Hanged Man" (even if in that one the twist is not very adequately explained)
"The Wider Scheme" also has a great twist, which considering the first line, the reader really should be able to guess. "Unknown Pleasures" is a nice, meandering peace which ably demonstrates the far reaches of crime and its networks. "Herbert In Motion" one of the two CWA Dagger winning stories in this collection (the other being "A Deep Hole") is a very well written story, with a great plot and a nice little sting in it's tail.
All in all, this is a superb collection of stories. Not a single one of them is a dud. They vary in styles and topics, and are all very enjoyable. A very nice offering to tide us over until the release of his next Rebus, "A Question of Blood".
This is a short story collection not to be missed by anyone, fan of Rankin (if you're not yet, why aren't you?) or not.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must For Rankin Addicts, 3 Aug 2002
This review is from: Beggars Banquet (Hardcover)
If you are new to Ian Rankin [can anyone still be?] then I wouldn't start with this selection of shorter pieces: go for the full-length novels first and try to read in some sort of chronological order.
This is a real gem for his fans. Widely varying subjects and styles, reflecting the diverse origins of the pieces. Some pieces leave you hanging in mid-air, wanting more, while others are taughtly drawn and have a feeling of completness: I guess that duality is what short story writers try to achieve, at their best.
I loved this book, but then I'm a confirmed Rankin fan from way back. Ideal airport lounge reading for the more sophisticated traveller- no story is too long to get badly interrupted by calls for your flight!
Enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Snappy, readable tales, 8 Jan 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Beggars Banquet (Hardcover)
This is a very good and sharp collection of short stories, and it's refreshing to see such a well-known novelist stretch his writing muscles a little. The best tales are definitely the non-Rebus ones, although I didn't warm to the one historical story. Rankin writes best in the modern context.
An absolute page-turner and one I recommend.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I usually hate short stories but.........., 17 Jun 2003
By 
Mrs. C. E. Bayley "Charley" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beggars Banquet (Paperback)
This book was superb. Each story felt like it was a whole novel and the detail and suspense was very well crafted. I usually struggle to feel that I have devoured a short story, but this book just felt like magic. It was as if he altered space and time to make the tales feel more substantial than they are on paper.
Go on, you know you want it!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Rankin I've come to love & revere., 9 May 2014
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This review is from: Beggars Banquet (Kindle Edition)
Rankin is at his best when writing a full length novel especially about Rebus & Fox. Still a fair read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Ian Rankin book, 24 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Beggars Banquet (Paperback)
Classic Rebus book. If you like the rebus books you will love this. A hard book to put down once you start.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Average, 8 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Beggars Banquet (Paperback)
Interesting how the Rebus stories within this collection stand out as superior both in terms of writing style and story. An indication perhaps to the future problems Rankin would experience in attempting to introduce the character of Malcolm Fox to the Public. That said "The Serpent's Back " set in 1794 is interesting and would have provided the author with a protagonist and theatre within which to express his social comment in contrast to that of Rebus rather than pursuing the re-hash that is Fox.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Covered range of author's repertoire., 31 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Beggars Banquet (Kindle Edition)
Enjoyed most of the stories - especially ones from Edinburgh's past. Remember, however, all history books written from point of view of winners of conflict not losers. Is possible all historical fact is not what it may seem at first glance.
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Beggars Banquet
Beggars Banquet by Ian Rankin (Paperback - 22 Sep 2005)
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