Fleshmarket Close by Ian Rankin

‘Fleshmarket Close’ is Ian Rankin’s 15th Inspector Rebus book. The story starts with St Leonards CID closed down and the staff scattered through other stations. Inspector John Rebus has been assigned to Gayfield station, but hasn’t even been given his own desk. This is a not-so-subtle hint from his superiors that they want him to retire.

But Rebus has no intention of retiring – what would he do with himself if he did? He and his long term friend Siobhan are using their contacts around the other stations to find work for themselves. Between them they end up with what initially looks like an unrelated set of cases.

The first case that Rebus gets involved in is the murder of an asylum seeker at one of Edinburgh’s grottier housing estates. Meanwhile Siobhan finds herself investigating the skeletons of a woman and baby that have been dug up in a pub’s cellar. She is also contacted by a family she dealt with in the past. Their older daughter was raped and later committed suicide. Now the rapist has been released from prison and the younger daughter has gone missing.

While the cases initially seem to be unrelated, they all end up linked, with further links to an illegal immigrant slave trade and Edinburgh’s sex industry.

Once again it is through Rebus’s persistence and unorthodox methods that the crimes are eventually solved. As usual (for Rebus) most of the work is carried out with a drink in his hand. Rebus even ends up calling on his old adversary, the now retired crime boss ‘Big Ger’ Cafferty for help in solving the cases and finding ways to expose the criminals.


This was an enjoyable Rebus story, but probably not my favourite in the series. Rebus continues to push his health and his luck to the limit and it’s becoming obvious that he won’t be able to continue this for much longer – his superiors certainly don’t want him around for much longer.

Only two more books before the series finishes. The next in the series is ‘The Naming of the Dead’ followed by ‘Exit Music’. I’m expecting to see Rebus completely self-destruct.


Book Published 2004


See a full list of books by Ian Rankin

Leave a Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Detective, Rankin, Ian, Series Fiction, Thriller

Comments are closed.