Somehow I'd never come across Rankin's mysteries before, although he's a prolific writer and The Naming of the Dead is only the latest in a long series of books featuring Detective Inspector John Rebus. Two things sent me straight to my local bookstore for this one, though: first, a good review in The New York Times, and second, the fact that this novel is set in Scotland in July 2005, where the G8 leaders have gathered for their annual conference in a place called Gleneagles.... Now, because a handful of you will be sitting up and going "oooh!" right now, I have to be honest and admit that neither Villepin nor Putin actually makes an appearance in the novel (although Dubya and his bicycle have a walk-on role, and Tony Blair is referenced more than once). It's an satisfying story, and Rebus is an intriguing (and flawed) character. I think he's definitely worth a deeper acquaintance, and I'll be looking for the earlier novels at the library.
(2) Mayles, Peter. A Year in Provence
An absolutely delightful memoir which I've heard about forever and finally sat down to read.