Ian Rankin - Doors Open
- Doug Johnstone
- 18 September 2008
This article is from 2008.
After 18 novels, John Rebus retired in his last outing, Exit Music. Whether the detective inspector will return is unclear, but in the meantime Ian Rankin is having some fun spreading his authorial wings. This heist story was first published as a serial in the New York Times and while the fleshed-out version here is not a million miles away from Rebus’ world, thus keeping Rankin’s traditional fanbase happy, it has plenty original charm of its own too.
The backdrop is contemporary Edinburgh, where Mike Mackenzie is a bored, thirtysomething software millionaire with an interest in fine art. A conversation with an art professor and an employee of The First Caledonian Bank plants the seed of an idea to steal priceless works from the National Galleries’ warehouse on the city’s Doors Open Day, when private buildings are open to members of the public. The triumvirate realise they need experienced help and turn to Chib Calloway, local nutjob gangster and old school friend of Mackenzie, which is where things start to go pear-shaped.
Rankin is enjoying himself here examining the flipside of Rebus’ world: the mindset of the criminal attempting the perfect crime. The plotting and suspense are impeccable as ever, and his ear for dialogue and insight into his home city remain perfectly honed. Freed from his Rebus back-story, Rankin sets a rattling pace, and as the threads of the heist unravel, Doors Open is an untrammelled joy to read. Consummate in its execution, this is another fine addition to Ian Rankin’s career, Rebus or not.