Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Playing Detective! (Standing in Another Man's Grave)
Standing in Another Man's Grave
Lovers of police procedurals and thrillers are very thorough and also easily addicted. The most common question when looking for a new author is “Which is the first in the series?” They don’t want to miss any details and enjoy building their understanding of the detective, often an anti-hero who has no boundaries, is anti-establishment and misanthropic, and relishes jazz and processed meat sandwiches.
But here’s the problem. There are often ten or twenty titles in the ongoing drama of any detective and some of them might be out of print. Publishers seem to have a problem putting the number in the series on the spine or cover of the book. Bookstores may not be able to stock all titles of all writers. Sometimes publishers even change the name of some of the books so people think that they are buying a new title, but really they’re not. Also, some authors have more than one living and breathing detective.
Last month I decided to take the plunge with Ian Rankin, one of our most popular writers. I’ve been meaning to read him for a long time so I went to the shelf and chose Standing in Another Man's Grave, which turned out to be the most recent book. Looked good to me, so I didn’t bother looking for the first. Rankin’s character Rebus is a prickly old guy who basically pisses off almost everyone he comes into contact with. But he’s obsessed with his job and, to the consternation of higher-ups, always gets his man.
It becomes pretty obvious as the story progresses that Rebus has a nemesis and his name is Cafferty. Cafferty is a gangster who has been causing havoc in Edinburgh for years. So now I’m pretty committed to going backwards and putting the pieces together in this very fraught relationship. It probably won’t be in backwards numerical order though. This just makes my detective work slightly more challenging!