What does one do for an encore when one has been a best-selling crime novelist, with novels translated into 22 languages? Answer—- change the point of view. The novel ‘Doors Open’ does not involve John Rebus, though it does involve one of his colleagues— Detective Ransome. But this novel is not seen through the eyes of the detective, the story unfolds through the mind and point of view of Mike McKenzie… a computer software millionaire who is bored out of his gourd and trying to figure out what to do with his life. All he knows for sure is that he loves art, and there are some works of art he covets…. but cannot have, as they are museum pieces. Unless…… so, yes, this novel is an art heist crime novel. Yes, it involves a known Edinburgh villain Chib Calloway. Yes, it involves Edinburgh’s finest. But it’s focus is on three art collectors— Mike McKenzie, Professor Gissing, and Allan Cruikshank who are not criminals…. that is until they decide to go rogue.
This novel then turns into a cautionary tale of the moral consequences of suddenly getting greedy when one knows nothing about crime. The real skill in this particular novel is showing time and again that to commit the perfect crime is virtually impossible because if you try to build an edifice out of lies and deception, if you make even one or two missteps, one or two false moves, the whole edifice comes tumbling down. Is this because of the uncanny skill of the police? No, it’s because according to Rankin we live in a moral universe for the most point where, as St. Paul once said…. “whatsoever one sows, that they shall also reap” sooner or later. The reason punishment follows crime, is because it is actually quite difficult in a moral universe to cheat the system over any length of time.
I enjoy this novel. It was a rather quick read at 260 pages, and the characters were interesting, if not likeable. But you certainly miss Rebus and Siobhan and there tete a tetes.