The Beat Goes On
is a collection of short stories concerning John Rebus-right from his time as DS to DI, with another story concerning him whilst he was retired but still going at it like a good ole Detective.
Ian Rankin is sublime, even in the shorter format of storytelling. Each story is just a snippet in to both the writing style of Rankin and also the Life and Times of Inspector Rebus, Gentleman.
Each story is just a small, non-significant mystery that Rebus has to solve, some of which featured as side-plots in one of the fully-formed Rebus novels. With these stories you gain an insight in to John Rebus himself, the people he works with and against, Edinburgh and of Rankin's writing style as it is.
If you have not read any Rebus or Rankin before, this may be a good starting point, just to work out whether you enjoy his storytelling prowess, or just to see if you think Rebus will be worth your time. I can't imagine why he wouldn't be, but, you know, just in case.