The falls

by Ian Rankin

Paper Book, 2001

Status

Available

Publication

London Orion 2001

Description

A student has gone missing in Edinburgh. There's almost nothing to go on until Detective Inspector John Rebus gets an unmistakable gut feeling that there's more to this than just another runaway spaced out on unaccustomed freedom or worse.

User reviews

LibraryThing member adriel
A typical british detective mystery done as a radio drama. Short, somewhat hard to follow at times, but still a fun read because of the dramatic elements.
LibraryThing member brakketh
A decent by the numbers crime novel. A little too easy to see who the killers were.
LibraryThing member pw0327
In my review of the last installment of the Inspector Rebus novel, Set in Darkness: An Inspector Rebus NovelI got the distinct impression that Inspector Rebus was going spiral out of control. he may still, but this novel, as dark and forbidding as most of these novels have been, shows a glimpse of light.

At the beginning of this novel, Rebus' old boss, "Farmer" Watson, has retired and his former lover Gill Templeton has taken over. The situation is awkward, as can be expected, add upon that the disappearance of the daughter of a prominent banker, and various mythical clues, you have a thoroughly involving book. The mysteries themselves are really quite well plotted and convoluted. An excellent challenge for the reader. There are enough juicy tidbits about the protagonists, mainly Rebus and Clarke, that you are kept on pins and needles. The other characters have been built up within the series such that you slowly begin to integrate them into your consciousness. Rankin should be rightfully proud of how he has slowly built a world of Rebus in our minds.

One of the most fascinating things about the series is how Rebus' mind works and how his obstinacy and will to do things his way affects the way he works on these mysteries. There were always signs that Siobhan Clarke, rebus' partner for the last few adventures have become Rebus' legacy of rebus to the Edinburgh police. Yet, she does things her own way too, much to the exasperation of Rebus. That is the beauty of the series, every main character grows and evolves in their own way. The evolution is gradual, almost by happenstance and never seems forced or willful. It is as if Rankin wants to do this carefully, slowly. Rankin will probably make a liar out of me by snuffing Rebus out in a hail of gunfire or some such silliness, but it feels like this would soon become the Rebus and Clarke series.

Great plotting, dense mysteries, complex characters, social historical analysis of Edinburgh and Scotland, a wee tour of the pubs in Edinburgh, what more can you ask for.
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LibraryThing member LambtonWorm
Upon discovering this novel in a shelf of old books I've not yet read I decided to start it having been a fan of the Rebus TV show for a while.

Having high expectations I decided to wait until I had enough free time to fit this book in - thankfully this came soon and I'm glad I had the free time, finding myself reading this until 4am one night.

Varying storylines through the novel keeps your interest piqued throughout. With each character forming a story in itself with it's own history you tend to keep reading in order to gain a wealth of knowledge about each.

It's safe to say that this book is one where you form your own guesswork based on mysterious clues throughout, trying to flag up the red herrings yet still being shocked at the outcome by the end.

As well as being surprising with many twists, the storyline is also very interesting within itself with two murder leads simultaneously occurring and inter-twining with one another.
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LibraryThing member Scrabblenut
I really enjoyed this mystery. A young woman goes missing, leaving clues from "Quizmaster" on her computer. Siobhan starts communicating with this Quizmaster and gets caught up in the game. Excellent.
LibraryThing member kevinashley
The first crime novel I've ever read, and an interesting and easy read - almost too easy and not as rewarding as I had hoped it might be. I can imagine really enjoying a TV dramatisation of this story, and somehow the cliches might not seem so obvious and the characters more captivating. That's not to say it was dull (it wasn't). I'll try one of the earlier Rebus's before making up my mind about this.… (more)
LibraryThing member DowntownLibrarian
Ian Rankin is clearly in the first rank of living mystery writers. Do not miss him!
LibraryThing member nakmeister
Rebus Book 11

An Edinburgh student, daughter of a wealthy and influencial banking family, goes missing. There is no signs of struggle, no ransom demands, nothing. She simply fails to turn up to meet some friends, and isn’t seen again. Inspector Rebus, assisted by Siobhan Clarke is on the case, at least for now, but the only clues to the missing girl are an internet roleplaying game and a tiny wooden coffin found near her home, eerily similar to a set of small coffins found on an Edinburgh hillside in 1836…

This is the first Ian Rankin book I’ve read, though it’s one of his more recent novels, and I have to say I am very impressed. I’ve not read widely in the murder mystery/detective thriller genre, so find it difficult to compare to similar books, but it is excellently written, gripping and fascinating. The use of the internet role-playing game as a major plot device was very welcomed, adding a very modern edge to the book. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member miyurose
This book took me forever to get through. It's the 12th book in the Rebus series, but the first one I've read. Rankin is Scottish, and the book is set in Edinburgh, so there was a lot of language that I wasn't familiar with which made the reading a bit slow. It felt very dense.

Storywise, I guess it wasn't that bad. I wasn't really crazy about any of the characters, but I didn't hate them. I just didn't relate. I thought I had the "whodunit" figured out early, but I was WRONG. So that's good, at least. It wasn't predictable.

The acceptableness of the story aside, I probably won't seek out any more in this series. I like my crime novels to be a faster read.
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LibraryThing member the.ken.petersen
I knew that this moment would come: a five star rating is simply not enough for this book. Rebus is an excellent character and, here, we see him at his zenith.
Is the story of two intertwined murderers believable? In the cold light of day, no: utterly preposterous but, within the confines of those 390 pages, unquestionably.
Rankin has a great way of bringing reality into his fiction (here, the story of Burke and Hare, details of Edinburgh's history and topography) blur with the edges of his fiction until one is as hooked upon the Quizmaster's game as Siobhan.
I have read this one before, as a library book, and I will certainly read it again. Fiction of this quality deserves to be treasured.
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LibraryThing member Heptonj
This is one of my favourite Inspector Rebus books to date (I have not read them in order). The interaction and relationships between the different characters is excellent with a few sub-plots thrown in for good measure.

When the daughter of a wealthy banker goes missing all the stops are pulled out to find her. The finding of a small coffin with a doll in it sends Rebus on what seems to be a wild goose chase and 'Quizmaster' has Siobhan and her partner chasing their tails to solve the computer clues he sets, convinced that the game level 'Hellbank' will disclose what happened to the missing girl. In the meantime DCS Templar, ACC Carswell and DC Hood all seem to have their own agendas. Throw in a retired professor of pathology and you have a real melting-pot.

If you are a fan of Inspector Rebus, this is a must-read.
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LibraryThing member icolford
The Falls finds the intrepid John Rebus and cohorts on the trail of two killers: after a new murder Rebus stumbles on a series of apparently connected older killings. Rankin spins his compelling and entertaining tale within the familiar precincts of Edinburgh and environs. This book is everything we have come to expect of Rankin and Rebus: an ingeniously constructed mystery and characters that come to life on the page. Who could ask for more?… (more)
LibraryThing member smik
Nothing is ever simple in an Ian Rankin book, particularly not in a Rebus title. A complexity of inter-tangled plot lines introduce a plethora of interesting characters, romance for Rebus, and some topical issues mixed in with a little local history.

I get the feeling THE FALLS was written specifically to delight Edinburgh residents. The missing student has been playing an online game with complex cryptic clues. The answers are places to be found in or near Edinburgh.

We listened to THE FALLS in weekly episodes of about 2 hours at a time. In that sort of regime, the possibility of forgetting plot elements is fairly high. One of the things I found a bit frustrating is that, as always with an audio book, it is difficult to thumb back and check up on some information you barely remember.

Nevertheless an enthralling story
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LibraryThing member -Eva-
Ancient time witchcraft meets modern day internet games. Although having a slightly convoluted plot and a not completely tied-up ending, this is still a fantastic story and Rankin's descriptions of Edinburgh and its people are first-class as usual. Especially the parallels between the historic crime and the modern day crime are utilized well and it is always entertaining to watch Siobhan slowly turning into Rebus, one book at a time.… (more)
LibraryThing member zumanity
An excellent book. Inspector Rebus makes for a great hero, flawed but human, and very believable.The way the author is able to blend characters, geography, mystery, & history is amazing. A strong mystery & thoroughly enjoyable read.
LibraryThing member zumanity
An excellent book. Inspector Rebus makes for a great hero, flawed but human and very believable.The way the author is able to blend characters, geography, mystery, & history is amazing. A strong mystery & thoroughly enjoyable read.
LibraryThing member stuart10er
Great mystery. A missing persons case turns into more and ties back to crimes committed hundred of years in the past. Great foreshadowing, when I figured it out (near the end) it felt like I should have known it all along, but didn't of course.
LibraryThing member Eyejaybee
The Falls represents both Ian Rankin and John Rebus on mid-season form. We get to see all sides of Rebus - as a near-alcoholic seemingly stumbling from one crisis to another, a respectful and considerate lover, an obdurate, 'thrawn' colleague revelling in being a round peg in a square hole and, as always, a fine, incisive detective. Once again, the city of Edinburgh itself, and some of the grimmer episodes from its dark history, comes through as a principal character in the story, a beautiful yet also foreboding presence against which the action is played out.

Philippa Balfour, daughter of the wealthy owner of the exclusive private bank Balfour and Co, has gone missing. She had been studying the History of Art at Edinburgh University and had arranged to meet a group of friends. Shortly before the meeting she texts her friends to say that she has just had yet another big row with her boyfriend. Philippa is never seen again. Because of the prominence of her father the police are treating her disappearance as a priority.

The police remove her computer to search it for any possible clues to her disappearance, and Siobhan Clarke, Rebus's long-suffering sidekick, discovers that Philippa had been engaged in a role-playing game solving clues set by someone known simply as The Quizmaster. Clarke is sucked into undertaking the game herself, in the hope that it might shed some light on what befell the missing girl. She finds herself grappling with a series of increasingly more difficult cryptic clues.

Meanwhile, a model coffin turns up at The Falls, the Balfour family home. This has sinister echoes of a series of such coffins, now in the Museum of Scotland, that had been found on Arthur's Seat shortly after the Burke and hare murders. This gives Rankin the opportunity to deliver an enticing history lesson about the so-called Resurrectionists. This may sound contrived but Rankin handles it seamlessly.

I think that this might be the strongest of the series of Rebus novels.
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LibraryThing member Eyejaybee
The Falls represents both Ian Rankin and John Rebus on mid-season form. We get to see all sides of Rebus - as a near-alcoholic seemingly stumbling from one crisis to another, a respectful and considerate lover, an obdurate, 'thrawn' colleague revelling in being a round peg in a square hole and, as always, a fine, incisive detective. Once again, the city of Edinburgh itself, and some of the grimmer episodes from its dark history, comes through as a principal character in the story, a beautiful yet also foreboding presence against which the action is played out.

Philippa Balfour, daughter of the wealthy owner of the exclusive private bank Balfour and Co, has gone missing. She had been studying the History of Art at Edinburgh University and had arranged to meet a group of friends. Shortly before the meeting she texts her friends to say that she has just had yet another big row with her boyfriend. Philippa is never seen again. Because of the prominence of her father the police are treating her disappearance as a priority.

The police remove her computer to search it for any possible clues to her disappearance, and Siobhan Clarke, Rebus's long-suffering sidekick, discovers that Philippa had been engaged in a role-playing game solving clues set by someone known simply as The Quizmaster. Clarke is sucked into undertaking the game herself, in the hope that it might shed some light on what befell the missing girl. She finds herself grappling with a series of increasingly more difficult cryptic clues.

Meanwhile, a model coffin turns up at The Falls, the Balfour family home. This has sinister echoes of a series of such coffins, now in the Museum of Scotland, that had been found on Arthur's Seat shortly after the Burke and hare murders. This gives Rankin the opportunity to deliver an enticing history lesson about the so-called Resurrectionists. This may sound contrived but Rankin handles it seamlessly.

I think that this might be the strongest of the series of Rebus novels.

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LibraryThing member EadieB
Edinburgh police detective John Rebus, Ian Rankin's popular series detective, is a brilliantly realized character, as moody, dark, and melancholy as Edinburgh itself. In The Falls, he's almost certain that missing university student Philippa Balfour is dead, but he's less sure how she died or what her misadventure has to do with the tiny doll in a hand-sized coffin that turns up near a waterfall on the Balfour family estate. It's not the first coffin found near the scene of a crime; could Philippa be the victim of a serial killer?

In this installment of Ian Rankin's Rebus we find Farmer Watson has retired and Gill Templer has taken his place as Rebus' boss. She quickly learns that Rebus is hard to handle and Rebus begins to think about retirement. Philippa Balfour has been playing a fantasy type computer game with the Quizmaster and Siobhan Clarke decides to play along in order to find out what happened to Phillippa. Rebus soon finds out that there is a connection to the Burke and Hare case that was from the 1700. The model coffin found near the Falls of the Balfour Home also has a connection to the Resurrectionists and Arthur's seat. Once again there are a few sub-plots along with the murder of Philippa. I think I enjoyed this book more than I enjoyed the others. I found it very interesting and now I look forward to reading the next in the series. I would highly recommend this series to those who like mystery thrillers about Endinburgh, Scotland with action and adventure.
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LibraryThing member kerns222
Rankine writes for his cops. The mystery is a slog thru puzzles and peoples, but the detectives are the book's focus. They hold the stage. You know them better than any blood splatters or motives when all is over. These characters fit stereotypes of the genre--Rebus plays old dog but never rolls over for the crew or the boss, Shiv Rebus' protege is acquiring his traits, etc.--, but they are fleshy and human.

Endings happen quickly in Rankin's books--everyone is scratching around and then the big break comes and the book ends. This book is no exception.

A good read. Summer vacation, perhaps?
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LibraryThing member Andrew-theQM
This has to be one of my favourite books in the Rebus series. Initially I had a bit of trouble getting into it, but once I was into it I just read and read and read. It has to be one of the more in-depth books in the series in my opinion, and has a bit of something for everyone - some history (Burke and Hare connections), puzzle solving and pure crime and trying to detect the killers, as well the ongoing saga of Rebus and his colleagues. It has a slightly different feel than many in this series as it is not rooted in the crime scene in Edinburgh and there is even some romance of some description for Rebus (as much as he ever does romance that is). It also marks a watershed point in the series as Gill Templar is now his boss, following the retirement of Farmer Watson. I definitely recommend this book if you want an in-depth crime fiction book which is high quality. I look forward to continuing the series next time I am in Scotland, it does add to the feel!… (more)
LibraryThing member asxz
Another Rebus hate-read completed and still no sign of Gavin. Not sure how much more of these I can stomach. Always strong on plot, this was a particularly grating episode with some ancient silliness about the perils of the Interwebs and people connecting their WAP phones to laptops in order to download emails. I can't hold that against Rankin, but the rest of Rebus's facile horseshit is all on him.

This time Siobahn Clarke gets pulled in to Rankin's anti-establishment screed, turning down the possibility of advancement through the ranks in favor of doing things her own way, i.e. the same way Rebus does things and recklessly endangering her own life and the lives of others without ever conferring with her colleagues.

Mercifully there was no Big Ger Cafferty in this one, Rankin giving his Block-worship a rest for once and focusing on stealing tropes from the file titled "retired serial killers and their proteges".

Meaty, but terrible.
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LibraryThing member Romonko
I love these books for the insider's look that I get into Edinburgh, Scotland. I love these books for the realistic John Rebus, one of my favourite fictional characters. I love them for the mysteries and the intricate plotting that is in each and every book. Ian Rankin knows how to write a story. This books shows an even more complex John Rebus. A young woman has gone missing and John and his team are doing everything possible to find her. As they continue to search, John realizes that there is a lot more to this mystery than a rebellious young woman trying to escape from a less than ideal family life. And why does some particular historical information that is uncovered during the course of the investigation, seem to dovetail with this present day mystery? John puts together a a very mismatched team for this investigation. Each brings a unique set of skills as well as unique flaws which somehow all work together to help unravel the puzzle. Excellent writing, and to make it even better, John even finds a love interest. Long, long overdue for the wonderful John Rebus.… (more)
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