Resurrection Men by Ian Rankin


Things do not seem to go too well for DI John Rebus. He has just been taken off the case he was working on, the murder of an Edinburgh art dealer, Edward Marber, now in the hands of newly promoted DS Siobhan Clarke. And he finds himself at Tulliallan Castle, the Scottish Police College, for tossing a mug of tea to his boss, DCI Gill Templar, during the course of the Marber inquiry.

Rebus, together with five other officers, has been sent there to learn new skills on a refreshing course. All they have in common is just one thing: somehow they have failed, mostly for an issue with authority. A younger officer probably would not have had another opportunity, but they are all lifers. That is to say they have been in the force for over twenty years on average and are close to retirement on full pension. And Tulliallan is their last chance to be resurrected.

At Tulliallan the ‘Resurrection Men’ have to work on a cold case. The purpose of this exercise is teach them the merits of teamwork, which is not exactly their strength. But soon it becomes clear that that there is some hidden agenda when more than one in the group, including Rebus, has worked on this unsolved case before, and they all have their own secrets that they wish to keep hidden….

Resurrection Men is a 2001 novel by Ian Rankin. It is the thirteenth of the Inspector Rebus series. The title is a reference to the body-snatchers of the 19th century, who were known as ‘resurrectionists’ or ‘resurrection men’. It is also the second of Rankin’s that I’ve read so far and the fourth book I read for my participation on the Typically British Reading Challenge 2010.

Resurrection Men is a dense and complex thriller that works pretty well as a stand alone book. It is very well constructed. Actually there are, at least, three stories which are compelling and nicely intertwined. The plots and subplots are convincing. The characters are credible and very well drawn. The dialogues are witty and dotted with some doses of humour, which makes this book a very entertaining read. Tension and suspense are nicely kept. Readers can also perceive, see and feel the atmosphere of Scotland, Edinburgh in particular, on each and every page. Overall a very satisfactory reading to the extent that, once finished, I’ve ordered more books in the series online. Maybe the solution at the end is not totally convincing, but overall I really enjoyed reading this book. Highly recommended.

Ian Rankin at Contemporary Writers.

Resurrection Men has been reviewed at The complete review, Books Please, Mostly Fiction Book Reviews.

Ian Rankin talks about Resurrection Men.

Resurrection Men at the author’s website and the publisher’s (Orion) website.

Search inside another edition of this book. (With an interesting note on terminology for non-British readers)

Ian Rankin

Resurrection Men (2001)

Orion Books paperback edition 2002

Number of pages: 486

ISBN: 978-0752848228

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4 thoughts on “Resurrection Men by Ian Rankin

  1. >Margaret – Thanks for this fine review. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one :-). I, too, liked it very much as I do most of Ian Rankin's work. Rankin really is well able to weave all sorts of plot threads together effectively, isn't he?

  2. >José Ignacio – Please forgive me!!! I just realised that in my comment on your excellent review, I referred to you as Margaret (I was just reading a blog post by someone of that name). I am very sorry for that mistake. Please feel free to delete that wrong name on my comment and replace it with yours. Sorry!

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