Rankin and Greenwood

Author: Ian Rankin       Title: Standing in another man’s grave

Author: Kerry Greenwood         Title: Unnatural habits: a Phryne Fisher mystery

Yan’s pick

This is the first time I have  read  an Ian Rankin book. I know he’s famous for his Rebus, the detective series. Rebus was also made into a TV series in UK.I am late coming  to Rankin’s books due to the fact there is a  very uncomfortable element to his work. For example, the bad people can’t always be dealt with  in a lawful way,  but Rebus has to take the risk to do certain things not according to the ‘book’ and that can get him into the trouble. In fact the justice is not always done by the book either.

Rankin actually has ‘killed’ Rebus off a few  years ago by making Rebus retire from the police force. However the author revived him again in this latest title, maybe due to the overwhelming disappointing feedback from his readers. So Rebus is back, in a sort of uncomfortable position – half civilian in dealing with dead or old cases,  the other half of the time to lend a hand to his former colleague Siobhan Clarke. After all it is Rebus who raises the concerns of these seemingly unconnected cases of disappearances of some young girls back to the millennium.

Rebus is no stranger to many of Rankin’s readers. He’s bold, talks to criminals and gets himself into trouble. He was accused  of not staying  on the right side of the law, so  the back stabbing and betrayal by the Complaint is the result. However he gets results usually. But this time does he get the result  he wanted? Well you just have to read the book.

In contrast to Ian Rankin’s crime writing, Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher is a light and entertaining read. Miss Fisher is charming and beautiful, just like the one we’ve seen on ABC TV. Most of all she’s intelligent and bold as well. There is always a touch of food, fashion and sex as well.

Miss Fisher faces a similar situation as Rebus – some girls have gone missing. A reporter who wants to find those girls herself disappeares as well. So what makes this book so different is this time the author goes to the dark side of Catholic church – child abuse, sex violation, slavery working conditions and even  cover ups.

The author might have written a light read but it dosen’t mean she hasn’t done good research. As always there is very rich history inside Greenwood’s books – Melbourne in 20s, and it’s culture and crime. In fact Greenwood got a lot facts from her research to make the book so readable and factual. She creates Phryne Fisher, a character who charms most of her readers by discovering true history of Melbourne in 1920s and 30s, which is beyond the fiction itself. Melbourne comes alive in Greenwood’s  world, so vivid and colourful, that you just want to go there to have a look for yourself.

This is the 20th book in the Miss Fisher series.