Monday, November 27, 2006

Rebus Wins a Reprieve

Followers of Ian Rankin’s Edinburgh police detective, John Rebus, have reason to rejoice. As The Scotsman reports:
Ian Rankin, who previously considered killing off Detective Inspector Rebus, the star of his best-selling novels, admitted yesterday that the chain-smoking, pint-quaffing shamus had won a reprieve.

He insisted last night: “He’s not going to die at the end of the final book, that would be an indignity too far. He’s not going to go off hand in hand with Cafferty, his nemesis. He’s not going to retire to Marbella, he’s not going to drive a cab.

“I know what he’s not going to do, I just don’t know yet what he is going to do.”

It had previously been assumed that the forthcoming Rebus novel, to be published next autumn, would be the character’s final appearance, as by then he would be 60, the mandatory retirement age in Lothian and Borders Police.

Clues to the final fate of Rebus did not look promising after Rankin admitted to quizzing Colin Dexter, the author of the Inspector Morse mysteries, on his reasons for killing off the beloved character. Rumours circulated that Rebus might consummate his secret passion for his partner, Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke, only to be gunned down by his arch-enemy, the Edinburgh crime boss Morris Cafferty.

Yet in an interview with
The Scotsman, Rankin revealed that his character’s ability to crack a case would not disappear into the inky black of a grave or in the tedium of retirement. Instead, the roles may be reversed, with Rebus becoming the sidekick and Det. Sgt. Clarke stepping into the spotlight.

The author explained: “I’d like to try to write a novel with Siobhan as the main character, but out of necessity Rebus would play a role.”

The reopening of an unsolved case from a previous decade, he says, would provide an easy vehicle for a retired Detective Inspector to return to the fray. In the first draft of his first detective novel, Rankin killed off the character of Rebus, only to resurrect him in the second draft. It was to prove a smart and lucrative move.
More on detective Rebus and his thoughtful creator can be found in a second Scotsman article.

(Hat tip to Euro Crime.)

No comments: