‘Strip Jack’ is the 4th book in Ian Rankin’s Rebus series, and after Detective Inspector John Rebus’s trip to London in the previous novel – ‘Tooth and Nail’, Rebus is back on home turf in Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside.
Rebus’s boss ‘Farmer’ Watson, acting on a tip-off, organises a raid of a high-class brothel. The raid is supposed to be top-secret, but somehow the press finds out about it and are out in force to document the raid. And, among the men visiting the brothel at the time is an MP – Gregor Jack, who up until now has had a squeaky clean image.
As the press continue to hound Gregor Jack in the subsequent days, Rebus feels sorry for and takes an interest in him. He soon finds out the Gregor’s wife Elizabeth has gone missing. Elizabeth leads a wild party life and it is not unusual for her to go away on her own, but she hasn’t contacted her husband since the brothel raid and is not staying at their country house as expected.
When Elizabeth’s battered body is discovered in a river, Rebus interviews Gregor Jack’s friends – ‘the pack’ and Elizabeth’s wild party friends. He discovers plenty of shady backgrounds as well as current intrigues among this rich and ‘want to be rich’ collection of people.
Eventually he discovers that someone has been trying to destroy Gregor Jack’s career and life and finally he manages to identify the murderer.
Throughout this novel, John Rebus has been with his latest lady – Dr Patience Atkins and it looks like he might be settling down and cleaning up his life (controlling his drinking, smoking and bad food).
John Rebus is developing his skills as a detective with the help of his uncanny perception and instincts. Detective Brian Holmes, introduced in an earlier novel plays a major role in this one. And, a fairly permanent relationship is being set up between Rebus and Patience.
The plot of this novel was excellent and the characters are being set up brilliantly. This novel was another excellent addition to the series and I’m looking forward to reading the next – ‘The Black Book’.
Book Published 1992