Fleshmarket Close by Ian Rankin
Nope, that's not the book cover. :) I read this one before going to Scotland last year and was nerdily delighted to be able to take a photo of the real Fleshmarket Close. It was very cool to be able to see the setting after reading so much about it.
Summary: An illegal immigrant is found murdered at Knoxland, an Edinburgh housing development - was it a racist attack or something else? Rebus is drawn into the case, but has other problems: his old police station has closed for business, and the powers that be would rather he retire than stick around. But Rebus is stubborn and in the course of his investigation he must visit an asylum seekers' detention centre, deal with the sleazy Edinburgh underworld, and maybe even fall in love... His colleague Siobhan, however, has problems of her own. A teenager (the sister of a girl from another case) has disappeared and Siobhan is drawn into helping the family, which will mean travelling into the web of a convicted rapist. Then there's the small matter of the two skeletons - a woman and an infant - found buried beneath a concrete cellar floor in Fleshmarket Close. The scene begins to look like an elaborate stunt - but for what purpose and who did it? And how does it tie into the murder at Knoxland?
Thoughts: I hadn't read any of the other Inspector Rebus novels, but had always wondered about them, so I chose Rankin for my R author. I found I was able to follow things without knowing the Rebus backstory, which was good. I found Rebus' character really interesting - intelligent, sardonic, and stubborn and an amazing detective. I also liked Siobhan - a tough young woman but very caring. The skeleton subplot was an interesting twist, although I found some of the immigration stuff pretty hard going. It was a pretty dense book, but I can see why Rankin is so popular and the series is so large.
My favourite part was when Rebus and his team had to comandeer a local library for interviews and he was puzzled by the poster of Captain Underpants on the wall and later one of the officers in charge (can't remember his rank) looks like him and so earns an unfortunate nickname.