It was a foggy, dreary night and 20 souls braved the murk to meet for the monthly Whodunit Book Club. The book discussed this evening was "The Complaints" by Ian Rankin.
The first in a new series featuring Malcolm Fox, of the Complaints and Conduct Dept. of the Edinburgh Police Dept. (The Scottish version of what we call 'Internal Affairs', this department investigates police wrong-doing).
Those who liked it were mostly fans of Ian Rankin's previous novels. They connected with the character of Malcolm Fox and liked the story and character development. Also, the setting played a big part making wintery Edinburgh almost a character unto itself.
It was generally agreed that a map of Edinburgh would have been a welcome addition to the book. The setting is described early on in the novel as being just down the
street from Fettes College. Wanting to get an image in my mind I Googled
Fettes College images. I just loved the headmaster's house!
Those who liked it least believed that there was too much description, too much talk of the traffic in Edinburgh, and too many characters which they found confusing.
The premise was that Malcolm Fox, himself a member of the 'Complaints' is being investigated and he is suspended from duty. The story centers around his attempts at trying to find out why this has happened. Rankin aptly described police corruption and the human foibles which make officers susceptible to it. The character of Malcolm Fox - his relationships with his co-workers, sister and father is written in such a way that the reader is drawn to his personality.
The sequel to "The Complaints" is available now and is titled "The impossible dead".
It is interesting to note that in an earlier draft of the novel the character of Jamie Breck was written as corrupt, while as we found out the final draft proved the opposite to be true.
For those who like reviews see The Guardian's review of the Complaints.
Also... the NPR review of the Complaints
Congratulations to the lucky winners of this month's free book draw:
Next month's novel will be "River of Darkness" by Rennie Airth. It is a historical police procedural mystery set in Surrey, England. A great read!
Remember, Whodunit members receive a discount off the price of Book Club novels at Chapters Dartmouth!