Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin

I didn’t realise how much I was missing John Rebus until I read this book. ‘Standing in Another Man’s Grave’ is supposed to be the next book in both the Malcolm Fox (#3) and the Rebus (#18) series’, but Fox’s appearances are quite minor and he only seems to be there to try and pin a corruption charge on Rebus.

It was also an incredible relief to finally find out what happened between Rebus and the super-villain Cafferty at the end of ‘Exit Music’.

Rebus was forced to retire from the police force five years ago. He is now working as a civilian for a cold case unit. As a former detective, Rebus doesn’t find this work very exciting.

Then he is approached by Nina Hazlitt whose then teenage daughter Sally went missing over ten years ago. Other girls have gone missing from the same road (the A9) since then. After listening to Nina, Rebus manages to insert himself in the latest missing person’s case, that of Annette McKie. So once again he is doing detective work and working with his old friend Siobhan Clarke.

It is Rebus who believes in the link between the missing girls. It is Rebus who identifies the location pictured in a photo sent from the missing girls phones. It is also Rebus who travels around Northern Scotland reinterviewing people involved in the initial cases until he finds his suspect.

Throughout the story, Rebus shows his characteristic lack of respect for authority. Siobhan has been promoted since Rebus left but she gets pulled straight back into bending the rules with Rebus.

The mandatory retirement age has now been lifted and Rebus wants to reapply to the police force. His return could affect Siobhan’s chances of future promotion. And, Malcolm Fox is watching his every move, hoping to catch him bending the rules. There seems to be no place for police who consort with known criminals in order to solve crimes.


Rebus’s ability to solve crimes through sheer doggedness still makes everyone around him look stupid, but it was wonderful to have him back again. His ability to function in a modern police force remains to be seen and with his rough living, it’s also questionable if his heart will continue to hold out.

I guess we’ll find out more in the next installment – ‘Saints of the Shadow Bible’.


Book Published 2012


See a full list of books by Ian Rankin

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