Rankin novels fail to detect high bidders

A FIRST edition of Ian Rankin's debut Rebus novel sold for £300 at auction yesterday - almost £200 less than it was expected to fetch.

The hard-living Lothian and Borders police detective John Rebus has become a cult character since first appearing 18 years ago.

Rankin's books now sell around the world and regularly appear on international bestseller lists. But his early novels only had a print run of a few hundred copies so have quickly become collector's items.

But the book sold at yesterday's auction, Knots and Crosses, failed to fetch the expected price of between 400 and 500.

Several other Rebus first editions, many of which were signed by the author, also went under the hammer at the Bonhams auction in Edinburgh. Strip Jack sold for 180, The Black Book went for 50, Mortal Causes, Wolfman and A Good Hanging sold as one lot for 50 while a set of eight of the most recent novels fetched 320.

Speaking before the sale, Rankin had joked he may end up bidding for his own books one day.

He said: "Back then I gave all my spare copies away to friends and family which is why one of these days I may end up as a bidder at Bonhams."

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