We gave it an A-
”Old and new Edinburgh,” muses Inspector John Rebus while overlooking the disjointed cityscape of the Scottish capital. The ancient-to-modern juxtaposition is an apt metaphor for the narrative thrust of Edgar award-winning author Ian Rankin’s latest contemporary-noir thriller (his 15th featuring Inspector Rebus), which cleverly matches the clichés of the British police procedural (smoky pubs, pun-laden banter) with subject matter that is utterly current, including asylum-seeking immigrants, racial tension, and prison privatization. As expected, Fleshmarket Alley begins with a murder, but it subsequently runs through several other scenarios?another murder, a runaway daughter, human smuggling. Full of wit and a wonderfully dry observational tone, Rankin’s postcolonial mystery is as multifaceted and masterful as the single-malt whiskey Inspector Rebus favors after a long day of sleuthing.