Ian Rankin reveals plans for Inspector Rebus stage play

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Crime author Ian Rankin has revealed that his famous Inspector Rebus character is being adapted for the stage.

The best-selling author teased his fans with news that work on a theatrical production is underway during an appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Rankin, who also revealed at the event that he had just signed a new book deal to revive the character in at least one more novel, insisted he was not working on the play himself.

But the Fife-born writer, who published the first Inspector Rebus novel 30 years ago, did not disclose who is taking on the challenge of bringing his grizzled detective to the stage.

Rankin himself ventured into the world of theatre in 2013 when he penned his first stage play for the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh.

News of a stage adaptation has been revealed just three months after it emerged that Rebus was set to make a TV comeback after more than a decade.

Playwright and screenwriter Gregory Burke is working on the project after the rights to Rankin’s novels were acquired by independent production company Eleventh Hour Films.

Scottish actors John Hannah and Ken Stott played Rebus on a number of STV adaptations of the author’s novels, which were aired between 2000 and 2007.

However the author bought back the rights in a bid to ensure that his novels were not cut back for screen adaptations in future.

Rankin revealed at this book festival event that a new Rebus novel was due to appear in the autumn of next year - but insisted he had no idea what the story would be.

Asked at the event he would consider writing any non-fiction work in future, Rankin said: “I’ve not got any plans to do that.

“I’ve got plans to do lots of things. There is a mooted TV series next year, there is a possible Rebus stage play, which someone else is writing, not me, thank God, I’ve just done an original story for Radio Four about the last hanging in Edinburgh, and I’ve done a Christmas short story with Rebus for Country Life magazine.”

Rankin retired Rebus in 2007 but decided to bring back the character five years later to work on “cold cases.”

The writer has published 21 Rebus novels to date, but did not release one this year and had insisted a comeback was by means definite.

At last year’s book festival he warned that “the clock is ticking big time” for the character, adding: “There is only so much I can with him.”

Speaking at his sold-out event at this month’s book festival, Rankin said: “I’ve just signed a contract for two more books and one has to be Rebus.

The other after that can be anything I want. When the festival finishes I will get the thinking cap on. I’ve got nothing at the moment. I’ve not got a title and I’ve not got a plot.

“But I will get the thinking cap and start writing in January. By June, hopefully, I will have another Rebus book which will come out next autumn. All I need are a plot and some characters.”