Rankin: The crime novel is dy­ing (and Trump’s a prime sus­pect)

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Toby McDon­ald

REBUS cre­ator Ian Rankin has fore­cast the death of the crime novel.

The au­thor – whose 21 books have sold mil­lions – said bad news was killing it off.

The rise of Don­ald Trump, ter­ror­ist at­tacks and mass shoot­ings have left peo­ple yearn­ing for ‘kind and gen­tle’ books, he claimed.

The Scot is on a world­wide tour to cel­e­brate the 30th an­niver­sary of his cre­ation but he said the bleak­ness of events world­wide was chang­ing readers’ habits.

Rankin, 57, said: ‘Right now, the world seems so crazy that many nov­el­ists have dif­fi­culty try­ing to shape it into a co­her­ent nar­ra­tive. Fic­tion must be cred­i­ble; the real world right now feels to me like the op­po­site of that.

‘Peo­ple crave nor­mal­ity and sto­ries of kind peo­ple help­ing each other.’

He added: ‘I think this may hap­pen – a move away from se­rial killers and bleak dystopian crime fic­tion to­wards some­thing with a more com­fort­ing mes­sage. Maybe good will be seen to tri­umph and or­di­nary peo­ple will over­come crises in psy­cho­log­i­cal crime nov­els.’

Rankin’s books have been trans­lated into 22 lan­guages and made into two tele­vi­sion se­ries star­ring John Hannah and Ken Stott.

His 22nd novel about the Ed­in­burgh de­tec­tive will be pub­lished next au­tumn.

But Rankin, who earns more than £250,000-a-year, said he was too set in his ways to give up on Rebus. He said pre­vi­ously: ‘I am too much of a cynic. Maybe my books will be­come wilder and more chaotic in­stead. ‘Ev­ery theme... can best be ex­plored with a de­tec­tive. When I write, I feel like a child, play­ing games and hav­ing ad­ven­tures with my imag­i­nary friends in a uni­verse where I get to play God.’ The au­thor de­nied that pub­lish­ing is too white, male and stale. He said: ‘New voices are al­ways be­ing heard.’

Joseph Knobbs, crime buyer for Water­stones, said Rankin’s claim was a mys­tery.

He added: ‘Dystopian clas­sics such as 1984 and Fahren­heit 451 have been sur­prise run­away best-sell­ers this year. As for Rankin and Rebus, noth­ing ex­cites me more than his sug­ges­tion that his own work might get wilder.’

REBUS: As played by Ken Stott

RANKIN: Au­thor says bleak­ness of workd events is chang­ing readers’ habits

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