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The Travelling Companion (Bibliomysteries)…
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The Travelling Companion (Bibliomysteries) (original 2016; edition 2016)

by Ian Rankin (Author)

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552313,643 (2.97)3
Member:SESchend
Title:The Travelling Companion (Bibliomysteries)
Authors:Ian Rankin (Author)
Info:MysteriousPress.com/Open Road (2016), 53 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:to-read

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The Travelling Companion by Ian Rankin (2016)

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I had a pile of other books in my hand as I headed to the self-serve checkout at the library, but I spied this en route and fell for the cover. The designer doesn’t even get a mention but it’s his/her cunning design that made me add it to the pile without even looking at the name of the author. Who I have should have recognised because he’s a stalwart of our literary festivals (even though #DuckingForCover I would hesitate to call him a literary author).
Anyway, this short story packaged to look like a book is apparently part of a series called Bibliomysteries, and it sells for about $12.00. Which seems a lot to pay for a ‘book’ you can read in 20 minutes. Riffing on RL Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, it reminded me of The Aspern Papers by Henry James. (Which you can read online for free at Gutenberg Project, and possibly enjoy more).
Seriously, there is not much more to say about The Travelling Companion than that. I do not understand the preoccupation with crime that fuels the crime fiction and true crime book industry, but I know that Rankin is enormously popular, and (once I realised who wrote it) I expected it to be well-crafted if not exactly to my taste. But IMHO it’s not.
The first half of the story is dull, and the second half of it is silly. A young university graduate from Edinburgh stumbles into employment at Shakespeare and Company #2 and under the influence of drugs and bad company stops being the sensible Scot that he had been, breaking a girlfriend’s heart in the process. Then he stumbles into the acquaintance of someone who purports to have the destroyed drafts of RL Stevenson’s racier texts. How this resolves itself is so clearly foreshadowed by the texts it references, that all I can say is that some readers are easily pleased. There are five-star reviews along with some bemused two- and three-star ones at Goodreads. I gave it two because I liked the cover. ( )
  anzlitlovers | May 28, 2018 |
Fans of Ian Rankin will be aware of his own fascination with the works of Robert Louis Stevenson, echoes of which are found throughout his crime novels featuring Detective Inspector John Rebus. This short story gives further vent to that preoccupation, revolving around the experiences of Ronald Hastie, a student of English from Edinburgh who takes up the offer of a vacation job working in an antiquarian bookshop in Paris.

While there Hastie meets another bookseller who shows him a manuscript which appears to be an early version of Stevenson’s classic, ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’. Meanwhile the hitherto clean living, almost demure, Hastie finds himself undergoing a range of new experiences, some of them with drastic consequences.

I was actually a little disappointed with this story – it wasn’t bad but somehow I expected something a little more polished from Rankin. This seemed more like a brief outline of a potential novel rather than a finished story. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Aug 6, 2016 |
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A thrilling new novella about a Jekyll and Hyde-obsessed Scot in Paris from the international bestselling author of the Inspector Rebus mysteries For recent college graduate Ronald Hastie, a job at the legendary Shakespeare and Company bookshop offers the perfect occupation during a summer abroad in Paris. Working part-time in exchange for room and board leaves plenty of freedom to explore the city once visited by his literary hero, Robert Louis Stevenson, and things only get better when he meets a collector who claims to have the original manuscripts of both the first draft of Jekyll and Hyde and the never-published The Travelling Companion (both thought to have been destroyed). Then Ron meets the man's mysterious assistant, and a reckless obsession stirs inside him. As the life he knew back home in Scotland fades from memory, he desperately seeks the secret lying within Stevenson's long-lost pages. . . .… (more)

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