Ian Rankin

John Rebus is tired. He’s 60, divorced, his only child living far away, too fond of smoking and drinking, eight days away from retirement from the job he loves, the job that defines him. Fortunately, a dissident Russian poet gets bludgeoned to death on the streets of Edinburgh, which sets into motion Exit Music (Little, Brown, $24.99). Scottish author Ian Rankin has said this will be the last mystery novel (of 17) to feature Detective Inspector Rebus, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he shows up in support in some new franchise. Rebus first appeared in print in 1987, when Edinburgh was comparatively poor, no one had cell phones, and DNA evidence scarcely existed. Exit Music is set very much in the Scotland of the present: New Russian wealth is flooding into the prosperous land, and there’s talk of seceding from the U.K. Smoking has been banned from pubs—the horror!—and women, like Rebus’ junior partner Siobhan Clarke, are knocking against the old glass ceiling. But as always, Rankin keeps his hero from being too contemplative. Mundane details and petty grievances are the detective’s stock in trade. The more murder changes, the more it stays the same. Seattle Mystery Bookshop, 117 Cherry St., 587-5737, www.seattlemystery.com. Free. 12 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Mon., Oct. 6, noon, 2008

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