Ian Rankin announces new Rebus novel
In a Hay Festival exclusive, Ian Rankin revealed that a new Rebus novel is coming this November
In a Hay Festival world exclusive, Ian Rankin revealed that his next book Standing in Another Man’s Grave would see the return of his hero Rebus, who he is bringing out of retirement after five years. After reading the opening passage, featuring Rebus attending the funeral of a past colleague, he explained that “it’s a road trip,” with most of the action taking place on the A9 in Scotland which connects the Orkneys to Edinburgh.
Inspector John Rebus was last seen in Exit Music published in 2007. Standing in Another Man’s Grave will be published on 8 November and, though told with Rebus at its centre, will also feature his latest creation, Malcolm Fox of Edinburgh's internal affairs unit, who becomes interested in Rebus when he goes for a CID job.
When talking about the new novel, Rankin started, "It is Rebus: he's back," receiving loud applause from the audience. He explained that it was the idea of seeing Fox through Rebus eyes - and "falling foul" of him, that drew him back to his famous creation.
“I felt there was unfinished business between the two of us," said Rankin. "He had never really gone away but was working for Edinburgh's cold case unit. And I knew I had a story that was a perfect fit for him.”
This year also marks 25 years since Rebus' creation, another reason, Rankin said, for bringing him back to duty. Other key characters will appear in the book, including Siobhan, who has moved on from Rebus, and the gangster Cafferty, revealing that he is still alive. Of returning to Rebus' voice, Rankin said it felt natural: "He was there straight away."
The title of the new book Standing in Another Man’s Grave is inspired by a song by the late Jackie Leven. The Scottish singer/songwriter was much admired by Rankin and the two became friends when they discovered a mutual regard for the other’s work. They toured and recorded a show together ‘Jackie Leven Said’ and were due to appear at a number of events shortly before Leven’s death in autumn 2011. Standing in Another Man’s Grave is dedicated to his memory.
Rankin admitted that his publisher, Orion, was not initially keen on the book's title, but was persuaded when the author pointed out that it was exactly as many characters as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Photographs courtesy of Finn Beales