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Beggars Banquet by Ian Rankin
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Beggars Banquet (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Ian Rankin

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494820,689 (3.62)28
Member:Robynnlee
Title:Beggars Banquet
Authors:Ian Rankin
Info:Orion
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Short stories

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Beggars Banquet by Ian Rankin (2002)

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http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1908210.html

The stories in this collection varyin in length from full novella (a variation on the opening of Dead Souls) to a few pages; about half of them have Rebus solving a mystery, and the weaker stories tend to be from the other half. Generally good and entertaining stuff, though. ( )
  nwhyte | Mar 28, 2012 |
I'm not a big fan of short stories. Often they leave me unsatisfied as if they haven't finished the story they started to tell. There are exceptions. Most science fiction authors are also great writers of short stories. And I love Alice Munro's short fiction. I think writers who try short stories have to be top notch in order to succeed. So I guess it shouldn't surprise me that Ian Rankin can write a great short story.

Some of these stories are about John Rebus, the idiosyncratic Edinburgh police detective. In fact, the last story, Death is not the End seemed so familiar to me that I had to go back to the Rebus books I have read. Sure enough in Dead Souls the same story about the missing son of high school friends shows up as one of the plot lines. The one distinction is that the mother, who used to be Rebus' girlfriend, is named Janis here is called Janice there. Perhaps Rankin realized that it was more likely that a girl the same age as John Rebus would have been named the more traditional way. Anyway, it provides an interesting view into how a novelist constructs a book using some details that have percolating through the brain for some time.

A couple of the other stories have to do with art heists which of course was the subject of Rankin's first non-Rebus book after Rebus retired, Doors Open. Obviously another thing that has been percolating through his brain for a while.

There is a short introduction by Rankin in which he talks about how some of the stories came to be. I referred back to it several times as I was reading the book. ( )
  gypsysmom | Nov 29, 2011 |
Ian Rankin's short stories always illustrate what a superb story teller he really is, and what a variety of issues and ideas interest him. The short stories collected into BEGGARS BANQUET have also recently been included in a new volume called THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES.

I must admit the ones I most enjoyed were the Rebus ones, and the ones I disliked most were the Walter Scott ones.

The story Herbert in Motion won a CWA Short Dagger in 1996.

James Macpherson (whom you will remember from Taggart) does an excellent job of narration, if sometimes challenging when he implements a broad Scottish brogue.
In general each of the stories is approximately 20 mins long. ( )
  smik | Oct 2, 2011 |
A motley collection of short stories, some of which feature Rankin's usual detective Rebus. Some are excellent and some are a bit on the laboured and mannered side. I think Rankin was experimenting with styles, and they didn't all work too well. Eh, good for him.

They are all crime fiction, mostly set in Edinburgh, and mostly they show Rankin's wonderful sense of place. The Rebus ones are in general the better ones, not just because the character is familiar but also because he does more meditations on morality. Not ponderous stuff, but as usual nicely hidden with tales of whisky, music, pubs, regret and uncertainty. I also enjoyed the one about the solicitor in the police lineup, and the one historical fiction set in 1790s Edinburgh's underworld. ( )
  cajela | Jan 16, 2011 |
21 short stories - well written and each different - not challenging but entertaiining ( )
  richardgarside | Nov 3, 2008 |
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From suburban murders to the sinister workings of a serial killer's mind, from a bent cop with a terminal approach to his work to a hitman who gets more than he bargained for in a crowded fairground...

This collection from the modern-day master of crime writing, which includes seven Rebus stories and the hard-to-find Death is Not The End, not only explores the human condition, but also the inner life of a city like no other. For the streets of Edinburgh's Old Town have seen more than their fair share of blood.
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