Special guest booked in as Rankin leads Rebus tour

VISITING the key sites of Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus detective series has long been popular with crime fans, but few expect a tour of the famous spots to be headed by the novelist himself.

But now the author, right, has agreed to help guide Colin Brown on one of the popular Rebustours, giving fans a rare opportunity to hang out with one of the Capital's most famous writers.

The author agreed to meet the series' fans at the end of the tour to mark the 10th anniversary of the popular tour walk and raise money for charity.

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After talking a walk around some of the heavily featured sites, such as the City Mortuary and Saint Leonard's Police Station, Rankin fans will be invited back to the one of Rebus' favourite pubs, the Royal Oak, for a snack of corned beef and beetroot rolls and pickled eggs.

He will chat amongst fans and discuss the Kindred charity, which hopes to raise around 2,000 from the event.

The charity, which helps disabled children and their parents learn how to live with their conditions, is particularly significant to Rankin after it helped him understand and deal with his son's disability. Kit was diagnosed with Angelman syndrome, an incurable condition that has left him unable to walk and talk.

Rankin said: "When our son was diagnosed with special needs, Kindred was the first organisation to offer both practical help and a sympathetic ear.

"Without Kindred, we would have felt lost and bewildered in a sea of questions and bureaucracy. We will always be grateful to the staff at Kindred."

Sophie Pilgrim, director of Kindred, said: "We were delighted when Colin and Ian offered to help us out. Ian has been a supporter of the charity for a few years now and when we were given lottery fund money three years ago he helped us a lot with the launch. We're grateful to him for giving us some of his time again, especially as we have just launched our new name. Before we were called Kindred we were known as SNIP.

"We help out around 450 families every year in Edinburgh, and when Ian first found out about Kit he came to us for some advice and support and he's been very good to us ever since."

Mr Brown, who runs the tours, said he was delighted to be helping the charity.

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He also wanted to highlight, however, that the event would also be in remembrance of his late business partner, John Skinner, who founded Rebustours in 2000. He died in 2006.

He said: "I've never actually done a tour with Ian, so it'll be a new experience for me. At the same time it's a great opportunity to raise money for an important charity. And, you never know, he might have a few surprises up his sleeve."

The tickets for the tour on 4 June cost 35, with all proceeds going to the charity. The tour, followed by the pub meet, is set to run from 6pm to 9pm.

Altogether 30 tickets are available, although there are not many left. If it proves successful it is hoped that the special tour will become an annual event. Those interested can call 0131 536 0360.

Tickets for the tour are available from Kindred on 0131 272 2755.