ONE OF Scotland’s best-known fictional characters, Inspector Rebus, is to make a comeback.
The inspector, who helped Ian Rankin become a best-selling crime writer, was retired from the force five years ago.
However, he will return as a “cold case” investigator in the author’s latest novel Standing in Another Man’s Grave, which is due out in November.
Fife-born Rankin revealed Rebus’s former colleague Siobhan Clarke will also feature in the new book, along with the main character of the author’s recent novels, Malcolm Fox.
Rankin, who revealed John Rebus’s return during an appearance at the Hay Festival of literature yesterday, said: “I felt there was unfinished business between the two of us.
“He had never really gone away, but was working for Edinburgh’s cold case unit. And I knew I had a story that was a perfect fit for him.”
The new book is said to find Rebus “as stubborn and anarchic as ever”. Publishers Orion have released publicity material for the book, which states: “Rebus may be about to derail the career of his ex-colleague Siobhan Clarke, while himself being permanently derailed by mob boss and old adversary Big Ger Cafferty.
“But all Rebus wants to do is discover the truth about a series of seemingly unconnected disappearances stretching back to the millennium.
“The problem being, no-one else wants to go there – and that includes Rebus’s fellow officers. Not that any of that is going to stop Rebus. Not even when his own life and the careers of those around him are on the line.”
Since Rebus’s first appearance in 1987, the novels have been translated into 22 languages, becoming international best-sellers. Rebus also featured on the television, with Scots actor Ken Stott playing the grizzled officer. Rankin said the book’s title is inspired by a song by the late Scottish singer-songwriter Jackie Leven and is dedicated to his memory. He said: “Jackie was a great guitarist and a fine songwriter with a vein of robust romantic imagery and a voice that could melt granite. He was also a terrific storyteller whose life had provided no end of material.”
Colin Brown who runs Rebus Tours in Edinburgh, offering walks taking in the sites from Rankin’s novels, said he was “delighted” with the news. “We’ve all been waiting with bated breath for five years for this. Some people were beginning to think that Rebus was going to be killed off,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how Rebus manages to work together with Malcolm Fox, who is his complete antithesis.”
Mr Brown said he had been aware that Rankin was writing the novel but was unable to share the news. He said: “I’m glad it’s out in the open now. Rebus fills a certain gap in the market which just recently the Norwegian crime writers have moved into.
“They have a similar dark and brooding way and dry sense of humour as Rebus, so I’m glad he’s back on the scene. One of the main draws of the Rebus novels is Edinburgh, which is a major character in itself.”
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