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					Black and Blue

    Rebus
           Rebus: Name
 a puzzle where you decode a message
  consisting of pictures representing
  syllables and words
 He is trying to solve puzzles
 He, as a character, is a puzzle
                 Violent
 Rebus occasionally is violent:
 “Rebus reached out a hand until it touched
  the man‟s forehead, faith-healer style.
  Then he pushed, not very hard. But there
  was no resistance…Rebus was kneeling
  in front of [Shand], hauling him up by the
  front of his shirt.”
 Here his behaviour seems controlled but
  at other times he acts angrily
Third Person Limited Narration

  Rankin uses this technique to show the
   reader things from Rebus‟s point of view
  And help us empathise with him
  “Yes, Craigmillar was a choice posting.”
   (p6 )
  “Another comedian, another waste of
   time.” (p7)
                  Music
 Throughout Rebus thinks of songs and song
  titles which are relevant at that time:
 P27, “Pet Shop Boys: „It‟s a Sin‟. Segue to
  the Glimmer Twins: „Fool to Cry‟.
  “1968, Bible John‟s first victim. To Rebus it
  meant Van Morrison, Astral Weeks. 1969,
  victims two and three; the Stones Let it
  Bleed.”
 Music helps him make sense of the world
         Rebus‟s Thoughts
“It gnawed at Rebus, as it had at so many
   before: why would Bible John leave such a
   good witness behind? ...Why had he been
   so reckless? Had he been taunting the
   police..? ...Australia, Canada, the USA?”
   (p96)
 We see Rebus‟s thought process as he
   tries to work things out
                  Music
 P27: “Pet Shop Boys: „It‟s a Sin‟. Segue
  to the Glimmer Twins: „Fool to Cry.‟”
 “1968, Bible John‟s first victim. To Rebus
  it meant Van Morrison, Astral Weeks.
  1969, victims two and three; the Stones,
  Let it Bleed.”
                  Victims

   “The way a lot of them saw it, when you worked
    a murder investigation, your client was the
    deceased, mute and cold, but still screaming out
    for justice. It had to be true, because sometimes
    if you listened hard enough you could hear them
    screaming. Sitting in his chair by the window,
    Rebus had heard many a despairing cry. One
    night, he‟d hear Angie Riddell and it had pierced
    his heart, because he‟d known her, liked her. In
    that instant it became personal for him.” (p51)
                   Ghosts
 “all the victims he couldn‟t help and would
  never be able to help.” (325)
 “surrounded by loss”
 “All the ghosts…yelling at him…begging
  him…shrieking.” (381)
 He feels haunted by the people he can‟t
  help
 “Why me?” (18)
 He sounds like he has had enough of the
  police but it is like an addiction: he needs
  his job
            Redemption

 “the act of delivering from sin or saving
  from evil”
 The closing words of the novel suggest
  he may be able to move on: “...pulled
  open the cupboard and lifted out the
  newspapers and cuttings. Dumped the
  whole lot of them into the bin. Grabbed
  his jacket and took that walk.”
    a man… who is not himself
            mean
 When Maclay calls Mitchison „Spike‟ he
  replies: “His name was Allan Mitchison”
 He is fiercely loyal to the few people he
  has respect for: “he didn‟t want Gill
  fucking up. He could see this was
  important to her” (114)
            A man of honour
   He sees it as his duty to fight for Justice: “the
    gig…was his [Mitchison‟s] reward – and
    memorial.
    “‟I‟ll see if I can do better,‟ Rebus said.”
   He does not compromise, when Ancram says:
    “‟Wake up to reality. This isn‟t a linoleum floor,
    big squares of black and white.‟
    „No, it‟s grey silk suits and crisp green cash.‟”
   He hates the way other policemen are more
    interested in money and promotions than the truth
       The best man in his world

   Rebus sides with victims and underdogs:
   P256. He empathises with the protestors:
    “Rebus had half a mind – maybe more than half
    – to throw the torch over the side.”
   The torch is to be used to cut through the
    chains – they have chained themselves to the
    oil rig
   Pp321-322 He reminisces about a homeless
    man called Frank, “one old guy…Rebus saw
    every summer.”
   He wants to pay his respects to Johnny
    Bible‟s victims:
   P276: [Ancram] “‟all this interest is because
    you once bought a prostitute a cup of tea?‟
    „Her name was Angie Riddell.‟ Rebus
    paused. „She had beautiful eyes.‟”
   He insists on seeing everyone as a person
    with an identity, not just as a statistic or a
    stereotype.
         Relatively poor man

   His obsessive nature and unconventional
    methods mean that he has lost out in both his
    career and personal life
   P225: he thinks that the bouncer at Burke‟s will
    see him as “a middle-aged lush, a pathetic figure
    in a cheap suit.”
   P361: “There was music, and there were books,
    but neither in great quantity nor of great quality.
    The clothes were utilitarian, one jacket much like
    another. No shoes. He found that bizarre in the
    extreme. Did the man possess only one pair?”
             Lack of respect

   He has no respect for the establishment. This
    is why he is posted to Craigmillar at the start
    of the novel: “He‟d upset some people,
    people who mattered. They hadn‟t been able
    to deal him a death blow, so had consigned
    him to purgatory.” (6)
   He is unimpressed by his own bosses and
    those made rich by oil:
   P173: he steps into the life where Minchell
    waits “with a slight bow”
    He will take no man‟s money
              dishonestly
 The officers from Glasgow are corrupt:
 P76: “Rebus thought of the fancy suits
  everyone seemed to be wearing, the good
  watches and shoes, the general air of
  prosperity and superiority.
  It was west coast dirt.”
 Rebus shows total contempt for this
            A proud man
 P373: “He [Jack Morton] might have
  changed – become a „yes‟ man, a pencil-
  pusher, a careerist – but John was the
  same as always.”
 He does not want to change
             A lonely man

   “…sometimes if you listened hard enough
    you could hear them screaming…One
    night he‟d heard Angie Riddell and it had
    pierced his heart, because he had known
    her, liked her.”
 Pp189-190: “Rebus had always found
  relationships with the opposite sex
  difficult…his job had proved more
  seductive, more all-consuming than the
  relationship.”
 Notice word choice like „seductive‟.
 Even Bible John, when he searches his
  flat “felt the loneliness of his life”
                Rude wit
 P179: “..interested in leasing one [oil
  tanker]?
  “Where would I park it?”
 “Can I ask you something, Major? Why
  did you name your oilfield after an
  oatcake?” (p209)
                    Obsession
   He feels empathy with Kayleigh Burgess:
   “She needs a break, he thought, as in a rest. But
    she was obsessed with her job...He thought of a
    story: World War One, Christmastime, the
    opposing sides emerging from their trenches to
    shake hands, play a game of football, then back
    into the trenches, picking up their guns again.”
    (151)
   He compares their lives to a war with only
    temporary respite possible
           A disgust for sham

 Rebus is unimpressed by Ludovic Lumsden
  and his attempts to impress Rebus
 He describes “the fanciest hotel room he‟d
  ever been in” as “a bit rich for my taste” (167)
 When Lumsden suggests he can use his
  position to get certain privileges Rebus does
  not commit himself. (p169)
       In search of a hidden truth
 Rebus is motivated throughout not by self-
  interest or furthering his own career
 But by getting justice:
 “Rebus saw her picture again: Angie.
  Hoped she was getting ready to rest.”
  (462)
              The Dark Side
 “The problem lay somewhere inside
  him...Rape was all about power; killing, too,
  in its way. And wasn‟t power the ultimate
  male fantasy? And didn‟t he sometimes
  dream of it, too?” (p190)
 Here Rankin makes clear the parallels
  between the criminals and Rebus,
 And by extension all men
 Violence and cruelty are in everyone
   “Rebus was fidgeting. He wanted to be flippant,
    ironic, his usual self” (324)
   This is an admission that the humour he uses is a
    defence against his feelings getting the better of
    him
   However here he runs away from accusations
    that he wrongly convicted Lenny Spaven.
   He walks away and when Jack tries to stop him
    they fight
   “And then he started crying. Crying for
    himself…most of all for Elsie Rhind and all her
    sisters, all the victims he couldn‟t help and would
    never ever be able to help.” (p325)
   He gets out all the feelings he has been bottling
    up, letting him sleep without alcohol
         Meeting Bible John
 Pp179-181
 They seem to hit it off
 „Ryan Slocum‟ says “Why do I still come to
  these things?” and downs whisky
                  Links
 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/c
  rime/article1760235.ece
 http://www.twbooks.co.uk/authors/starless.
  html

				
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posted:9/13/2011
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