Whodunnit? Rankin in the dark over drawings

THE plot thickens. Scotland’s mystery sculptor has struck again and this time at the home of one of its most celebrated crime novelists.

THE plot thickens. Scotland’s mystery sculptor has struck again and this time at the home of one of its most celebrated crime novelists.

Ian Rankin received a series of elaborate drawings etched into the pages of old parchment on his 51st birthday yesterday, the latest in a series of unexplained sculptures to appear across the libraries and cultural locations in Edinburgh.

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The author was sent prints featuring a pictorial interpretation of each of his 17 Inspector Rebus novels by an unknown female artist.

Depicting a miniature map of the Old Town, one featured blood-red paint running through the city’s Fleshmarket Close to represent the novel of the same name, while another reproduces the album cover of the Rolling Stones record Let It Bleed, to which the title of Rankin’s 1995 novel refers.

A further drawing of Christian crosses refers to the first Rebus novel Knots And Crosses, published in 1987 when Rankin was a postgraduate student at Edinburgh University, while a musical notation represents the final Rebus novel Exit Music.

Over the past year intrigue surrounding the identity of the mysterious artist has grown with the appearance of a series of sculptures throughout the city.

These included a dragon which appeared at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, a tiny cinema which surfaced at the city’s Filmhouse, a paper magnifying glass found in the Central Library, and a cup of tea and a cupcake on a tray left at the Edinburgh International Book Festival site in Charlotte Square.

Rankin told fans on the microblogging site Twitter of the gift yesterday morning, before posting images of several of the works.

He added: “Remember Edinburgh’s Mystery Sculptor? She has sent me 17 small paintings for my birthday, each one from a Rebus title.”

Rankin has been the subject of a number of the sculptures previously, with editions of his novels used as the materials for some of the works. The Filmhouse discovery last June featured a miniature cinema cut from the pages of several books left in the box office. It included, in the audience, a model figure of Rankin enjoying a bottle of Deuchars.

He said at the time: “It seems to be someone who knows about my books – Exit Music has a scene at the Poetry Library – and maybe also my personal habits (drinking Deuchars; often to be found at the Filmhouse), but otherwise I’m in the dark. All very strange and wonderful.”

Lilias Fraser, development officer at the library, said: “We don’t have a clue where these have come from and that’s part of the charm.”