Going back is always a gamble

Ian Rankin visited Waterstone's in Kirkcaldy
Ian Rankin visited Waterstone's in Kirkcaldy

“I’m slightly trepidatious actually,” says best-selling author Ian Rankin.

“This is the first time I’ve been back in Kirkcaldy since ‘The Impossible Dead’ and there were a few dodgy remarks made about it by one of the characters. He said you can tell a lot about a town by the fact it’s biggest shop is called Rejects!”

Rankin was in the Lang Toun to sign copies of his latest novel ‘Standing In Another Man’s Grave’ at Waterstones on the High Street and judging by the lengthy queue outside on a cold, dark November night nobody was holding the disparaging remarks against him.

The book is the latest in a hugely successful career and is the cause of much excitement amongst his fans as it marks the return of his most popular character, former Detective Inspector John Rebus.

The latest novel has Rebus working as a civilian in the Cold Case Unit in Edinburgh in his retirement. Rankin admits it was a gamble bringing him back.

“I didn’t think it was too soon, it’s been five years,” he said. “Yes, there was always going to be somebody who was going to say he’s just bringing him back because his other books haven’t been successful, or because his publishers have told him to do it, which wasn’t the case at all.

“My publishers were surprised because they were very happy with the Malcolm Fox books.”

Malcolm Fox, Rankin’s latest character, also makes an appearance in this latest novel, clashing with Rebus who has applied to rejoin the CID.

Rankin said: “They changed the retirement age so that Rebus could get back in, which would bring him into contact with Internal Affairs and Fox.

“I thought we’ve had two books with him as the good guy, let’s turn the tables and see him from the point of view of somebody he’s investigating, which is Rebus, which makes Fox the bad guy.

“Now does that mean that I can’t write about him again? I honestly don’t know.”

And will we see Rebus in the future?

“No idea. Maybe, maybe not.

“I think there’s potential there. 2014 is going to be a very interesting year to write about.

“So maybe that book or the one after? I don’t know!”