Ian Rankin ‘slowing down’ as he warns fans next Rebus could be two years

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Ian Rankin has told his fans not to expect him to write a new novel every year in future, warning that he is “slowing down” as a writer.

The 58-year-old author, who has just released his 22nd Inspector Rebus novel, has admitted that there may be a two-year break before another instalment of the series.

Rankin said it had taken just a few months to write the latest book, In a House of Lies, but admitted the inspiration for the novel had not come until the start of this year.

Speaking at its official launch at the Queen’s Hall, Rankin said he was “very happy” with the first Inspector Rebus stage play, which attracted sell-out crowds in Edinburgh last week.

But he said he did not want a long-awaited television “reboot” of Rebus – first details of which were announced more than a year ago – to be rushed.

Rankin told the sell-out crowd the return of Rebus to the nation’s screens was likely to involve the adaptation of two previous novels into a full-length TV series. But he said it was not ready to go into production as the script was still being worked on by screenwriter Gregory Burke and there had been no discussions yet on who would take on the lead role. Rankin, who admitted he had previously been in favour of Brian Cox playing Rebus on screen, said: “Next year I will sit and scratch my head and see if there is anything else waiting to come out, but potentially two years, because I am slowing down.”

Asked about progress on the new TV series, Rankin said: “It’s been a long time, but it’s still going. Gregory Burke is still working on the screenplay. I am leaving them to it.

“A TV company wants it when it is finished. We’ve not talked about casting for the reboot, so who knows where it will go next? I was very happy with the stage play.”

Rankin was asked whether he had thought about going back in time to write about Rebus, who was 40 in the first book, as a younger detective.

He said: “I’ve not thought about it ... maybe there could be a young Rebus, but possibly not in my lifetime.”