Ian Rankin Mark Bailey

Review: Rather Be the Devil by Ian Rankin (2016)

Ian Rankin – Rather Be the Devil (2016)

Orion, Hardcover, 320 pages

Published: 3rd November 2016 (UK)

ISBN13: 978-1409159407 (cased)

Rather Be The Devil by Ian Rankin
Rather Be The Devil by Ian Rankin

Rather Be the Devil is the 21st Rebus Novel.

John Rebus is retired once again and his memories are turning to past events and some cases have never left him.

One of those is brought back to him when Rebus is dining out with Deborah Quant. 40 years earlier, beautiful, promiscuous Maria Turquand died in her hotel room at the Caledonian Hotel on the same night that a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there – her killer has never been found. Rebus asks DI Siobhan Clarke to bring him the cold case files so he can do a bit of digging.

Meanwhile, the dark heart of Edinburgh remains up for grabs after Cafferty stood aside. The young pretender, Darryl Christie, has staked his claim but a vicious attack leaves him weakened and vulnerable – a situation exacerbated by an inquiry into a major money laundering scheme. Has Rebus’ old-time foe Big Ger Cafferty really given up the ghost or is he just biding his time until Edinburgh is once more ripe for the picking?


What is nice is how the Rebus novels now have moved from being primarily a solo series to more of an ensemble piece with Rebus, Siobhan Clarke, Malcolm Fox, Deborah Quant, Cafferty and, of course, Edinburgh each getting their turn in the spotlight during the course of the novel.

This is an utterly compelling and gripping read which I read worryingly quickly as you get engrossed in the book by both the characters and the plotlines.

The ending does set up the series for more novels very nicely.


I received a free copy of this book from the publishers on NetGalley.

Mark Bailey Reviews Sophie Hannah

Review: Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah (2016)

Sophie Hannah – Closed Casket (2016)

HarperCollins, Hardcover, 384 pages

Published: 6th September 2016 (UK)

ISBN-13: 978-0008134099 (cased)

Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah
Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah

This is the 2nd return of Hercule Poirot novel penned by Sophie Hannah (although I don’t think that he is as the back cover blurb suggests “the world’s most famous detective” as I feel that Sherlock Holmes is probably more well known).


Lady Athelinda Playford is hosting a party at her Irish mansion with two strangers to her as guests: the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard

Is the invite a result of the decision of Lady Playford to change her will and cut two of her children off without a penny leaving her vast fortune to someone else –  an invalid with only weeks to live. Poirot begins to wonder if Lady Playford expects a murder but why is she so determined to provoke a killer? When the murder is committed despite Poirot’s best efforts to stop it why does the identity of the victim make no sense at all?


I much preferred this to The Monogram Murders and will now go through my issues with that novel and how they have been addressed with this.

Edward Catchpool is still the narrator but we now do know his rank (Inspector) from the start, he is less scared of dead bodies, we do learn more about him as this book goes on and he not is a mere tool for Poirot as he is clearly a friend and is much better treated.

The fussy Poirot is back which may be in part because of the Country House milieu which means that he is much closer to the Poirot we know and love.

The book is also a bit tighter which might be due to it being shorter (I reckon it is about 91000 words compared to the 97000 words of The Monogram Murders so about 6% shorter)


The plot still does rely on Poirot making some leaps of logic that are a teensy bit heroic if one is being kind but I am much happier than I was last time – I should give warning though that there still are some fairly damning reviews on Amazon though.