I don't rank this highly. Sorry Ian!
Now, first of all let me say that we have read a number of books by Ian Rankin. I can’t say we love every page in all of those stories but on the whole we consider him a good writer — like millions of other. So, we ask ourselves, how on earth did Ian Rankin’s Doors Open, get into print? Ian Ranking may be a number one best seller, but, for me, Doors Open comes nowhere near Leigh Russell’s Cut Short. I contrast Doors Open with Cut Short deliberately, because Russell is a comparatively new writer who still has to make it to the halls of fame. I can only think that Doors Open is really an early work of Rankin’s although the publishing date is two years ago.
So what makes me be so ‘down thumbs’ about this book? Partly the way it is written and the implausibility of the plot, but mostly because the central theme is flawed. Famous paintings, by different artists, are stolen and replaced by copies worked by an art student. The mind boggles at any painter being able to produce eight perfect copies of famous artists, all of whom have totally different method and subjects, in a matter of a couple of weeks (or less?), but this a mere student. Right, okay so he is a clever guy, but we are talking about oil paintings mostly by old masters. Now any dabbler of paint will know it takes oil a while to dry. A new painting actually smells quite strong and can be tacky for ages. And I would question as to whether the paint could be anywhere near the original that was likely mixed from scratch. Okay, we say that our forger is pretty good there. But what about varnish, fine crack lines and natural changes due to the life of the painting? Am I being picky? I sure am. For me a good crime story has to be credible. This one is not. True, we still have a third of the book to go, but my interest is fast waning. The so-called expert who is part of the crime certifies the copies as the genuine paintings, but to me, anyone working at the gallery would have sniffed them as fakes as soon as he, or she, got a look at them.
Sorry, Ian. But I look forward to your next novel.
Magpies Nest Publishing
Lake District Saga — Checkmate
Hobson’s Books — My novels and other works