A Question of Blood, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


The fourteenth Inspector Rebus novel - and No.1 bestseller. Two seventeen-year-olds are killed by an ex-Army loner who has gone off the rails.

The mystery takes Rebus into the heart of a shattered community.

Ex-Army himself, Rebus becomes fascinated by the killer, and finds he is not alone.

Army investigators are on the scene, and won't be shaken off.

The killer had friends and enemies to spare and left behind a legacy of secrets and lies.

Rebus has more than his share of personal problems, too.

He's fresh out of hospital, but won't say how it happened.

Could there be a connection with a house-fire and the unfortunate death of a petty criminal who had been harassing Rebus's colleague Siobhan Clarke?


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780752883663



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Rebus is back and this time it's personal!There was a certain poignancy about re-reading this novel which opens with the immediate aftermath of a gunman entering a prestigious private school and killing two pupils and wounding another before turning his weapon on himself as news broke of yet another mass-shooting on an American campus, this time in Roseburg, Oregon. On the other hand, that is now such a frequent occurrence that almost any time I might have revisited this novel would have clashed with such an outrage.The gunman was identified as Lee Herdman, a readily-recognised figure around South Queensferry where he owned a motor boat and gave water skiing lessons and took tourists for trips around the various islets in the Firth of Forth at breakneck speed. After news of the killings broke it very soon emerged that Herdman was an ex-soldier and had, in fact, been a member of the SAS. Very soon the killings are being described as a combat veteran 'losing his marbles' or 'throwing a maddie'.It is not Rebus's case but he is pressed to assist the investigation in view of his own experiences in the army, and his (failed) attempt many years before to join the SAS. He is, however, beset with other problems. His hands have been hideously scalded, leaving him virtually helpless and unable to perform even the simplest of manual tasks. Meanwhile, a small-time criminal who had been stalking Rebus's colleague Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke and making her life a misery, is found burnt to death in his own home, having been seen drinking with Rebus earlier that evening. It doesn't take the senior management team at Lothian and Borders Police long to add two and two together, though it is not clear whether they are making four or five. In the meantime, he and Clarke are helping out with the school killing, uncovering a morass of tensions within the school and among the pupils' families.This novel features all of Rankin's customary skill. The descriptions of Edinburgh are as clear and haunting as ever, and the two glorious bridges seem to loom over South Queensferry in a menacing way. There are several subplots, all of which are dextrously managed, and the characters are as plausible as ever.

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