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Mortal Causes (1994)

by Ian Rankin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Inspector Rebus (6)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,582279,509 (3.81)39
It is August in Edinburgh and the Festival is in full swing... A brutally tortured body is discovered in one of the city's ancient subterranean streets and marks on the corpse cause Rebus to suspect the involvement of sectarian activists. The prospect of a terrorist atrocity in a city heaving with tourists is almost unthinkable. When the victim turns out to be the son of a notorious gangster, Rebus realises he is sitting atop a volcano of mayhem - and it's just about to erupt.… (more)
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» See also 39 mentions

English (23)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
A step back up from The Black Book but didn't quite blow me away like Strip Jack did. I read the second half of the book in a single day which is fast for me because the pacing was just perfectly judged. The plot ended up a bit too vague and a couple of paragraphs of exposition dump at the end made it feel like the author knew it, too. ( )
  ElegantMechanic | May 28, 2022 |
Set in Edinburgh. References to Northern Island, sectarian violence as well as social disadvantage in Scotland and nationalism. ( )
  ElizabethCromb | Jun 11, 2021 |
I think that this is my favorite Rebus novel to date because the case was very thrilling and I also enjoyed how the characters were written. There were some parts about Rebus's private life, but they were not as chaotic or drawn out as in the previous novels, and I liked that much better.
The case - a body found in Mary King's Close during the Edinburgh festival - has a deep and dark background, and it leads to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It was a very gripping reading experience for me and I enjoyed the Edinburgh setting but was also very interested in the background story connected to Belfast and Sectarianism. I'm looking forward to the next book and don't think I will wait too long until I get to it. ( )
  MissBrangwen | Feb 28, 2021 |
Während oben in Edinburgh das Fringe-Festival tobt, wird in den labyrinthischen Gewölben von Mary King’s Close ein Mann mit sechs Kugeln ermordet. Ein in Terroristenmanier verübter Mord, was Inspector Rebus intuitiv aber für die falsche Erklärung hält. Unter Hochdruck fahndet er nach dem Täter, um dessen Leben zu retten – denn der Ermordete ist der Sohn von Unterweltboss ‚Big Ger’ Cafferty. Und ‚Big Ger’ hat bereits blutige Rache geschworen …
  Fredo68 | May 14, 2020 |
This is #6 in the Rebus series. I didn't discover this series until The Falls which is #12. When Rankin decided to retire Rebus I decided that I was going to read all the books before The Falls. Since Rebus' retirement he has appeared in more books. In fact, Rankin is appearing in Winnipeg in a week to read from his latest. I am still continuing to read the back list but I only have one more so I'm glad to know I have some new ones to read.

This book is set in Edinburgh in August of 1993 but Northern Ireland is omnipresent. Rebus served in the army in Northern Ireland and saw a lot of violence there. So when he is called to a murder in which the victim was shot seven times (twice in his ankles, twice in his knees and twice in the elbows with a final shot to the head) he recognizes the pattern as what was called a six-pack used by paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland to punish someone who stepped out of line. So from the beginning the police suspect that Irish supporters might be responsible for the murder. When the victim is identified he turns out to be the illegitimate son of Morris Gerald Cafferty, the mob boss that Rebus put in prison. The victim never knew who his father was but Cafferty had always kept an eye on him and sent money for his support. Now Cafferty is determined that the person or people responsible for his son's death be caught (and killed). Rebus gets seconded to the Scottish Crime Squad who are involved because of the connection to terrorism but he also spends time with his home police station who continue to investigate the murder. It gives Rebus a lot of freedom to pursue his own ideas. It also gives him some time to get involved with a female lawyer from the Procurator Fiscal's office. He knows this is wrong since he is living with Patience Aitken but he can't seem to help himself. Rebus has a complicated love life.

I have to say I had a little difficulty following the twists and turns of this book; maybe I can blame it on the head cold I am suffering from. I did enjoy all the details about the Edinburgh Festival which is on when this book takes place. Old Town and New Town sound really interesting and I am hoping to get there soon but I think I'll pass on visiting the Garibaldi Housing Estate where some of the bad guys live. ( )
  gypsysmom | Oct 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian Rankinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Macpherson, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Perhaps Edinburgh's terrible inability to speak out, Edinburgh's silence with regard to all it should be saying.
Is but the hush that precedes the thunder.
The liberating detonation so oppressively imminent now?
Hugh MacDiarmid
We're all gonna be just dirt in the ground.
Tom Waits
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He could scream all he liked.
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It is August in Edinburgh and the Festival is in full swing... A brutally tortured body is discovered in one of the city's ancient subterranean streets and marks on the corpse cause Rebus to suspect the involvement of sectarian activists. The prospect of a terrorist atrocity in a city heaving with tourists is almost unthinkable. When the victim turns out to be the son of a notorious gangster, Rebus realises he is sitting atop a volcano of mayhem - and it's just about to erupt.

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