SUSPENSE Espionage, murder and more… RYHAANA SALIE
Title: The Impossible Dead
Author: Ian Rankin
Publisher: Hachette India
Price: Rs. 595
Set in the context of British politics in the 1980s, the plot centres on the Inspector Malcolm Fox’s investigation of Paul Carter who has been accused of misconduct. But Fox’s professional brilliance is a form of compensation for miseries in his personal life. He is a complex character and remains an enigma throughout the novel.
The plot unravels with the apparent suicide of Alan Carter, Paul’s uncle, a retired police officer investigating the murder of Scottish political activist Francis Vernal. Fox is not convinced that the initial suspect Paul is guilty of the murder and probes further. This provides him with a vital clue of the murder weapon, which he traces to a corrupt police officer, Gavin Willis, who was secretly providing weapons to the Scottish terrorist group. Willis was also Alan Carter’s mentor. Fox’s investigation leads him to lawyer Charles Mangold. Vernal’s widow provides Fox with important information about her husband’s lover, Alice Watts. Fox’s tracking down of Watts results in the climax.
Drama and History
The Impossible Dead takes the reader on an intriguing journey into the world of British politics and espionage. The novel captures the historical tension and conflict between England and Scotland. For example, the references to William Wallace highlights the author’s preoccupation with Scotland’s historical past and its fight for independence from Britain. It is ironic that the final encounter between Fox and Pears originates at the Wallace monument. The novel provides the reader with an insightful glimpse into the complex historical relationship between England and Scotland as both countries played a significant role in the formation of the British Empire and the current State.
Ryhaana is a II Year M.A. English Literature student at Stella Maris College.
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