Ian Rankin – The Travelling Companion

If you’re in the mood for a bite-size read – and you like a little creepy to go with your cosy at Christmas – it’s worth trying one of the short stories in Book Grail’s Death Sentences. There are 25 stories, each authored by some of the best crime writers out there today, and I’ve just finished Ian Rankin’s The Travelling Companion.


Coming in at just 88 (pint-size) pages, this is definitely a one-sitting read. Strait-laced and studious Ronald Hastie is working over the summer at the famed Shakespeare and Co bookshop in Paris, in exchange for bed and board. Back in his native Scotland, he will shortly be starting a PhD on literary hero Robert Louis Stevenson. But Hastie’s ordered life takes an obsessive turn when he meets a collector who claims to have not one, but two missing Stevenson manuscripts…

This is a pacy, absorbing little tale but I enjoyed it just as much for the questions it raised and it’s also fascinating for those with an interest in where author’s ideas come from.  I went straight from final line to google, desperate to know how much of the ‘missing manuscript’ story and the discussion about the origins of Stevenson’s Hyde were based in fact. After all, behind every good story there’s…another story.

Further reading: