Doors open: Ian Rankin
So many books find their way into our house these days, many handed on by friends or alluring ‘grabs’ at book exchanges, that the choice can be as enticing as a typical railway station bookstore. Book covers are cleverly designed these days to shout at you “pick me, me, me” as you pass them by. My theory is, the more attention-grabbing the book cover, the less substance worth reading between those covers. This may be an unfair observation, and I’m not a great fan of crime fiction……..but then I was enticed to pick up Ian Rankin’s Doors open, and its hard back covers had something to do with it. Having just read something factual in Spanish (see previous book review), I decided that something decidedly lighter was called for.
Famous initially for his Inspector Rebus series, in 2008 Rankin produced this stand-alone detective novel featuring the as-yet-unheard of Inspector Ransome. Like the Rebus series, it is set in Edinburgh, and features the most unlikely set of criminals who plan to steal several valuable works of art from a warehouse on a ‘doors open’ day (ie when the public are invited into significant buildings around the city as a goodwill gesture on the part of the authorities).
The chemistry of the gang is so startlingly inadequate for the job, and the enemies in the ranks so unbelievable as characters, that you seem to be carried along by the wildly speculative nature of the outcomes. Why steal hugely valuable works of art if there is not even the glimmer of a chance of selling them? Well, the answer is very simple: steal them to posses them…….and spend your days in splendid isolation in Tangiers, sipping mint tea, enjoying your ‘swag’.
An unlikely story, and unlikely set of characters……but put together by a master crime fiction writer.