I am not quite sure when this book was written but it was a while ago – I just hadn’t read it yet. This mystery has a certain eerie quality to it which I am not usually fond of but, because Rankin is a master of weaving stories, was very enjoyable. The beginning of the book has us meet a university student who is worried because his girlfriend has gone missing. We immediately think the worst, because this is a murder mystery, but there is no body.
Detective Inspector John Rebus has the case and members of the girl’s family and her boyfriend’s family immediately try to bully our John. He isn’t having any of it and succeeds in annoying the higher ups at work as well as many people who seem involved in this girl’s life. At first, of course, everyone paints a delightful picture of her but as the time wears on a little more information is given and Rebus and his team begin to see a different story behind the ‘perfect’ daughter and friend. Meanwhile it seems as though Rebus has a little romance in his life. A curator at the museum returns an interest in him and he is finally going out with someone other than his murder team. She proves helpful to the case as well because there are items in her museum which show up in places that seem to make no sense to anyone.
The Falls comes to play as a miniature coffin is found by them and the lady who calls in the story is only too happy to share her information with not only the police but also the local reporter. She becomes a definite burden for the force as they are trying to keep some information quiet about the details of the disappearance and amazingly the press themselves seem to be getting hold of pertinent details. The actual area known as the Falls is interesting too as it is really only slightly faster moving water with some elevation drops and hardly what one would call a fall but it has been known as the falls for as long as anyone can remember and just so happens to be very near to where the missing girl grew up.
Here is where the plot thickens, literally. The girl’s mother seems remote and suspicious, her father bombastic and overly dependent upon a friend as opposed to his wife and a little background history which would give more than one person a great motive to want to punish their family. Typical Rankin right!
This is excellent stuff and a story that is guaranteed to confound you. I thought I had it figured out several times only to be surprised yet again.