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A mugging gone wrong ... or murder?
A dissident Russian poet is found dead - at the same time a delegation of Russian businessmen arrives in town. For some, it is crucial that the case is closed quickly, clinically and with the minimum of attention.
But DI Rebus and DS Siobhan Clarke believe this is something more than a random attack - especially after a particularly nasty second killing. Then, a brutal and premeditated assault on a local gangster puts Rebus in the frame - and he may not survive long enough to solve anything...
Insp. John Rebus has just 10 days to solve the apparently motiveless murder of Alexander Todorov, an expatriate Russian poet, before he reaches 60 and mandatory retirement in Edgar-winner Rankin's rewarding 17th novel to feature the Edinburgh detective (after The Naming of the Dead). When the dogged Rebus and Det. Sgt. Siobhan Clarke look into the crime, they find an array of baffling conspiracies involving Russian businessmen, Scottish bankers and local politicians pushing for an independent Scotland. A second murder, of a man who'd taped one of Todorov's poetry readings, ensures the case gets extra resources, and Rebus's own interest is whetted by the possible involvement of Edinburgh crime boss "Big Ger" Cafferty. Clever, insightful prose more than compensates for the byzantine plot. There's an appropriately wistful tone to this final entry in the series. Fans will miss Rebus and wonder what on earth he'll do in retirement.