Rankin's new detective may be back, Rebus in doubt

Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:03am EDT
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By Martin Roberts

MADRID (Reuters Life!) - Best-selling Scottish crime novelist Ian Rankin says he may write more books featuring his new fictional detective but has no plans to bring the legendary John Rebus out of retirement after 17 outings.

Since he first appeared in 1987, Inspector Rebus has made Rankin Britain's top selling crime writer, won him the prestigious U.S. Edgar award, been dramatized on television and translated into 22 languages.

The hard-drinking burly detective, haunted by previous experience in the army, revealed a grim side of his Edinburgh home never seen by tourists and made the city as much of a character as himself.

Rebus finally reached compulsory retirement age two years ago in "Exit Music," which left many readers wondering what the long-divorced detective would do with time on his hands.

Rankin has never ruled out bringing back Rebus, but says he has been two busy to think much about him after penning two novels, a novella and a comic book since then.

"Never say never, but I don't have any plans for him right now," Rankin said in a telephone interview.

In the first draft of his latest novel, "The Complaints," Rankin brought back Rebus's younger -- and more disciplined -- detective partner, Siobhan Clarke, but left her out of the final version.

"She was only there in a secondary role, so there is potential for her on her own," Rankin said.   Continued...