RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V4 #459

From: Marianne Macdonald ( marianne.macdonald@lineone.net)
Date: 12 Aug 2002

On Monday, August 12, 2002, at 12:07 AM, RARA-AVIS Digest wrote:

> Not all of his books are procedurals, but the ones
> about the Scottish police detective in Edinburgh with
> the name that sounds like a puzzle are.

Jim, I have read them. And I've been struck before now by the unprocedural nature of Rebus' actions. I'm unrepentant: as I read them, these books have a protagonist who is almost a type of private eye, a man who fights more against procedures than with them, and whose moral hang-ups are personal. He does not hide behind his rank or status, and the depiction of law enforcement is only marginally accurate. Indeed its detailed accuracy would be almost irrelevant to the books. I have no sense that Ian is, or has ever been, especially interested in this kind of thing.

> A police procedural is nothing more, and nothing less,
> than a mystery (crime, suspense, detective, call it
> waht you will) story in which the main interest is the
> accurate depiction (or at least the appearance of the
> accurate depiction) of law enforcement.

There are real problems with PIs in a British context, you see, and various ways of solving the problem have been attempted by a number of writers. Some authors have solved these problems by developing police protagonists whose actions are ultimately maverick. By your own nothing-more-nothing-less-main-interest definition, the books just don't really qualify.


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