Rankin cannot bring himself to “bump off” Rebus

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CRIME writer Ian Rankin has admitted that he cannot bring himself to “bump off” his Inspector Rebus character after 30 years.

Rankin, who has released over 20 novels following the Edinburgh-based detective, says he “cannot imagine” killing his lead character, although he may stop writing about him soon.

He made the claim whilst speaking to two former real-life detectives, Tom Wood and Peter Ritchie, for the Radio Scotland show Good Cop, Bad Cop, broadcast today (Mon).

When he appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, Rankin said “the clock is ticking” for Rebus.

He also admitted he had no plans to write a Rebus novel in 2017, to mark the series’ 30th anniversary.

Speaking on the Radio Scotland programme today, he said there will come the time when “enough is enough” for the inspector.

Rankin said: “I cannot imagine bumping him off. I cannot imagine killing him off. I can imagine an end point where enough is enough.

“He’s not going to become a cab driver, he’s not going to do the things that retired detectives ought to be doing. He’s a cop. He’s a detective to the very core of his being.

“If he ceases to be a detective then he ceases to be. The only thing waiting for him is a protracted slow death, sitting in a pub all day, drinking whisky and chasers.

“He needs the work and needs to feel useful. He uses police work and detection as a way of not looking at all the problems in his own personal life. He’s looking at other people’s problems. He’s a professional voyeur, as many detectives, and all authors, are.

“I only do it one book at a time. As I sit here, I’ve no idea if there will be a book after that. If there is, will there be a Rebus, and if it is, will it be the last? I just don’t now.”

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, Rankin had already admitted time was running out for Rebus as he had already been brought out of retirement several times.

He said: “There is a real resonance with mortality. These are late Rebus novels. I’m very aware the clock is ticking big time, with him having retired twice.

“This time he’s gone – he can no longer be a cop.

“Rebus was never meant to be a serial character. But he got beneath my skin. He just drilled into my head and refused to leave.

Rankin’s latest novel, Rather Be The Devil, is set to be released in the UK next month.

The book will be the 21st Rebus novel, with the first, Knots and Crosses, having hit shelves back in 1987.

The inspector has also been the subject of a successful spin-off TV show, with the lead role first being played by John Hannah and then Ken Stott.

Rankin revealed the first sentence of the new novel last week: “Rebus placed his knife and fork on the empty plate, then leaned back in his chair, studying the other diners in the restaurant. ‘Someone was murdered here, you know’, he announced.”

 
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