| Au­thor set to mark his hero’s 30th an­niver­sary with a fes­ti­val in Ed­in­burgh

Crime Scene - - CONTENTS -

Is it re­ally 30 years since the de­but of Re­bus? Ian Rankin dis­cusses his Scot­tish cop.

With book ti­tles in­spired by many of his favourite al­bums, in­clud­ing Black And Blue and Let It Bleed by The Rolling Stones, Ian Rankin is clearly a mu­sic ob­ses­sive. March 2017 will mark the 30th an­niver­sary of the pub­li­ca­tion of Knots And Crosses, Rankin’s first novel to fea­ture John Re­bus, and the best­selling au­thor is planning a sum­mer fes­ti­val in Ed­in­burgh ded­i­cated to his de­tec­tive.

“It’s go­ing to be a week­end in late June,” Rankin tells Crime Scene. “There will be some live mu­sic, spo­ken word, maybe a walk­ing tour, a film. Maybe we could show the doc­u­men­tary [ BBC One’s 2012 film about Rankin].

“It’s just a chance for fans to get to­gether and cel­e­brate 30 years of Re­bus. So we’re still ex­plor­ing what it might con­sist of and who might be avail­able.”

The au­thor is also in­ter­ested in the fes­ti­val bill fea­tur­ing a dis­cus­sion about adapt­ing the books with a TV scriptwriter, plus ap­pear­ances by ra­dio and screen ac­tors, al­though Ken Stott is “of­ten busy”. The other chal­lenge fac­ing Rankin is that the bands who in­spired his Re­bus ti­tles are ei­ther out of reach (The Stones, The Cure) or no longer with us. Scot­tish song­writer Jackie Leven, who died in 2011, was a friend of Rankin’s and his lyrics for “An­other Man’s Rain” in­spired the ti­tle of the 2012 Re­bus come­back novel, Stand­ing In An­other Man’s Grave.

“I’m look­ing at peo­ple who might do Rory Gal­lagher tunes and John Martyn num­bers,” says Rankin, “or young singer­song­writ­ers who are in the style that Re­bus would ap­prove of. And it would be nice to get a Jackie Leven el­e­ment in it. He was a mate of mine, we worked to­gether – he was a huge fan of the books, I was a huge fan of his mu­sic.”

Al­though Rankin is a fan of Re­bus’ favourites, in­clud­ing Black Sab­bath, The Who and Jethro Tull, he ad­mits that their tastes don’t com­pletely tally.

“He wouldn’t like the stuff I lis­ten to these days,” says the au­thor. “He’s not bought an al­bum since about 1975. But I do like the stuff he lis­tens to, yeah – Leonard Co­hen, Tom Waits and John Martyn.”

Rankin was in a short-lived stu­dent band called The Danc­ing Pigs, who he fic­tion­alised for his book Black And Blue, and last year he was guest DJ for The Char­la­tans at Ed­in­burgh’s Usher Hall.

“I might do some Djing – we could have a whole night of mu­sic from the books,” he says of the fes­ti­val. “It’s 30 years of Re­bus, it’s not 30 years of me.”

The 21st Re­bus novel, Rather Be The Devil, fea­tures a fic­tional rock star who crops up in a cold case from 1978. For a spe­cial Water­stones edi­tion, Rankin penned a short story set at the time of the mur­der, which chron­i­cles the first time that Re­bus met Ger Caf­ferty, the gang­ster who be­came his neme­sis. With Rankin’s de­tec­tive not get­ting any younger, it’s an ex­per­i­ment that’s got him think­ing about a pre­quel novel: “I en­joyed do­ing it so there’s po­ten­tial there maybe to go back in time.”

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