Read Ian Rankin & Inspector Rebus Online
Authors: Craig Cabell
Tags: #Biography, #Literary
For Doreen Porter, Tracey Allen, Mark Ottowell, David Barlow and Graham A Thomas – professional editors, journalists and pure artists all. My thanks and best wishes for the friendship and time we spent together on
Also, to the great writers and editors of Scotland – past and present.
‘“I’m not supposed to be here,” Detective Inspector John Rebus said. Not that anyone was listening.’
‘It was all Sherlock Holmes’ fault, really.’
Ian Rankin Presents Criminal Minded
A copy of
signed by Ian Rankin… and Inspector Rebus.
irst I would like to thank Ian Rankin himself, for the many interviews and other conversations/emails over the years (including that alfresco breakfast meeting in the heart of winter!), Helen Richardson at Orion for always being so generous and accommodating, Tricia Malley and Ross Gillespie for their kindness and assistance with photographs (lovely people), Ellie Graham at Titan,
Campbell Armstrong, John Connolly, Frederick Forsyth, James Herbert, Bernard Cornwall, for being great friends and mentors over the years, also Michael Connolly, Jeffrey Deaver, Peter James, the late great Ed McBain, for their time; and the spirits of Spark, Hogg, Stevenson, Conan Doyle, Burns and Scott, who continue to play their part in our lives.
Also thanks to Anita, Samantha, Nathan, Fern,
who have to put up with my thought processes on a daily basis and – in regard to Nathan – treading the Edinburgh streets in search of Rebus’s Scotland too. Thanks also to legendary cops Leonard ‘Nipper’ Reed and Peter Wilton, who gave me a strong insight into the Police Forces of the UK over the past 50-odd years; and Lenny Hamilton, Billy Frost, Charlie Kray, Ronnie Knight and the Dixon brothers
who have given me their perceptions about the criminal underworld. Thanks also to Everington, Evans-Hendrick, Savage, Felton, Holdcroft, Fletcher, Townsend and Cherry, in fact all at the BTK, who have been my spiritual backbone over the past four years regarding internal security and other relevant areas of expertise. Thanks are also due to Euan and Iris Martyn; Euan has been a good friend over
the years from north of the border with a keen perception and wit, especially when I’ve had to pull rank! Thanks also to Tony Mulliken for being Tony Mulliken and reminding me that you can still do six impossible things before – or during! – breakfast (Miami Rules or not!). Thanks also to Samantha Hammell for helping me solve Edinburgh’s secret of Sherlock Holmes, a shame our conversation was cut
short but so was the queue! Thanks to Doreen and Tracey, Mark, Dave and GT for being such a great team: you all kept me sane during the early years (long live Office 2). Thanks also to the genius of David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, John Lennon and The Beatles and, of course, The Rolling Stones, for the musical accompaniment while I proofed the book (a bit of method-writing
at the end there!). Finally, thanks also to my father who found ten early Stones’ albums for me and additionally keeps my children covered in artist’s paints and glues on a regular basis when I have to work – perhaps we should invite you over for bath time soon!
Sincerely, many thanks to all.
Blackheath, August 2009
EDINBURGH, A TOWN CALLED JEKYLL AND HYDE
THE GERM OF AN IDEA
REBUS, IN THE BEGINNING
STRIP JACK NAKED
THE PLOTS THICKEN
THE CITY BENEATH THE STREETS
EDINBURGH, BENEATH THE VENEER
A SHORT INTERLUDE
YOU GOT THE SILVER
WRITING IN REALITY
THE YOUNGSTER COMES OF AGE
REBUS AND HIS NEMESIS GET OLD
THE G8 UNPLEASANTNESS
YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT
THE BIRTH OF JOHN REBUS
IAN RANKIN COLLECTOR’S GUIDE
IAN RANKIN: THE OXFORD BAR INTERVIEW
FURTHER READING AND COPYRIGHT NOTES
‘But it wasn’t all image, was it?’
an Rankin and Inspector Rebus
. There’s a coincidence in that title: the first letter of each name is the same – IR. Okay, Rebus’s first name is John not Inspector; but the analogy endures, especially when we acknowledge that the only description we get of Rebus in the first novel is that he has brown hair and green eyes – the
same as his creator Ian Rankin.
So Rankin created something of a self-image in Rebus? An interesting question and one that can’t be answered in a simple preface.
This is not a biography of Ian Rankin and it is not an in-depth piece of literary criticism. It’s somewhere between the two, that interesting place, which is part fact and part fiction, the area where Ian Rankin encounters Inspector
John Rebus and the character and stories take shape.
I decided to write this book after reading – and listening to – Rankin’s entertaining
, a book – or audio if you prefer it – in which Rankin seeks answers to complicated questions such as: What is Edinburgh? And, am I indeed John Rebus?
As a Scot he probably answered the first question successfully through a range of observations
and experiences, although perhaps leaving himself open to a slight charge of xenophobia along the way; but perhaps that’s where you’ll find John Rebus – or where Rankin wants you to find him?
I personally felt that Rankin was too close to himself (and Rebus) to answer the second question in
. So what you have here is my version of the answer to the important question, is Rankin,
Rebus? Or, based on the assumption that every character is based on the writer who created it: how much of Rankin is Rebus?
Throughout this book you will learn all that a reader really needs to know about an author: the path of his life up to becoming a writer, his thought processes connected with the formation of his main character and his adopted city, and how the main characters in the novels
have developed over the years. You will also see how Rankin’s style has developed over the years too, becoming more intricate.
The things you won’t find here are in-depth discussions about police procedure, social and economic issues raised by the plotlines, and analysis of inconsistencies throughout the books, which are all part of the wider picture of literary criticism. I’m simply interested
in the man and his creation here and the parallels between them.
That said, what you will find here are basic plotlines for every Rebus novel (without giving away the punchlines), character analysis, extensive interviews with Ian Rankin over a ten-year period, a TV guide and a detailed bibliography and collector’s guide. The end product is a solid companion work to Ian Rankin and John Rebus.
And if that is not enough, there is an uncut interview with Rankin in Rebus’s watering hole, the Oxford Bar, by way of conclusion.
OK, so that’s the sales pitch over with: what about those questions I wanted to answer? Well, let us now walk the atmospheric streets of Rankin’s – Rebus’s – Edinburgh and seek the answers together…
‘Rebus was still trying to come to terms with his new workplace.
Everything was so tidy, he could never find anything, as a result of which he was always keen to get out of the office and onto the street.’
The Black Book
have deliberately spelled out the titles of Ian Rankin’s novels in full throughout this book:
Knots and Crosses
Hide and Seek
Tooth and Nail
, rather than using ampersand, which is inconsistently used throughout Rankin’s published work.
With regard to
Tooth and Nail
, I use its original title
up to the point where the change of title was accepted by Rankin (after being
suggested by his American publisher).
I call Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
, the exact title it was published under in January 1886. I only adapt an abbreviated version of the title when the flow of the text dictates it.
All quotes are credited in footnotes. However, for the early interviews that support the facts of the author’s early life, I leave these
unrecorded as I rarely quote Rankin directly in the text (basically my
Set in Darkness
interview); other interviews are fully credited.
I have used several sound bites from other journalists/publications, which are fully credited in the text and/or in End Notes, although these are few.
The Pleasance, Eltham, August 2009
‘Here’s the scoop: crime writing is sexy.’
Ian Rankin presents
an Rankin was born in Cardenden, Fife, on 28 April 1960, ‘a rough working class town’, he explains.
Cardenden is situated in central Fife, between Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline, and sprang up in Victorian times with the growth of the coal-mining industry. Today, the mines are closed and unemployment
Rankin’s home was 17 Craigmead Terrace, a small house his parents lived in from the time it was built in 1960 – shortly after Rankin was born – until his father’s untimely death in 1990.