The Impossible Dead is a novel written by the Scottish author, Ian Rankin. It is the sequel to the previous novel, The Complaints. Like the previous book the crime thriller theme is continued throughout and outlines an investigation carried out by the main protagonist, Malcolm Fox.
The book starts with the reintroduction of Malcolm Fox. He has been assigned an investigation in Fife concerning 3 police detectives, who are suspected of with holding information concerning their fellow co-worker, Paul Carter, who had been recently held in custody charged with several acts of sexual assault. Carter had been reported by his own uncle, Alan Carter. Fox has had two other members from the complaints department to help him carry out his investigation, Kaye and junior complaints officer, Naysmith. After conducting several interviews and receiving little information, Fox decides to expand his investigation to look more into the detained officer, Carter. After unearthing several highly suspicious pieces of evidence concerning Carter, Fox then catches news that Carter has been released from prison. He is later told that his uncle Alan had been found killed in his own house. After the initial conclusion of suicide, more clues point towards his nephew, Paul, who despite denying this is confirmed as the prime suspect. Paul's only hope of proving his innocence is Malcolm Fox and his team, who believe there is far more on the matter than detectives believe.