Rankin and Rebus
Rebus on TV, on Tour and Wordwide

John Hannah
Illustration courtesy of S.N. Publicity.

Rebus on TV
A TV version of Black and Blue, starring John Hannah as Rebus was screened in the UK in 2000. A series based on three further novels have been filmed, to be screened in the autumn 2001.

It was John Hannah (known for his roles in such films as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sliding Doors and The Mummy) with his production company, Clerkenwell who bought the film rights and in conjunction with Scottish Television, are adapting several of the Rebus novels for the small screen. Hannah is delighted to be working in Scotland again on a home-grown project.

"Literature has just exploded here. People like Ian Rankin have found a voice. Like all the best crime fiction, it provides viewers with a vicarious thrill. Hopefully the series will spark interest and get people to read Ian Rankin's books. I shouldn't really be saying this but a couple of hours` reading is more rewarding than watching television. Reading the Rebus novels, you get the full, seven course degustation menu of Rankin's thoughts."

Rebustours You've read some of the novels, you may have seen the TV series, now you can experience the atmosphere of Edinburgh that Rebus knows and loves. There is a selection of three very contrasting two-hour walking Rebustours, led by local historian John Skinner who vividly re-enacts scenes and recites extracts as you visit the real settings where the grim and gruesome fictional events have taken place.

See the St. Leonard's Police Station, where Rebus is based, on to Salisbury Crags, to the City Morgue and down the Royal Mile. Or stroll along the Water of Leith, beneath the towering Dean Bridge, and recall the final chase and denouement in the last pages of The Falls. Walk around the New Town, with its elegant crescents and townhouses and end the tour, appropriately, at the Oxford Bar, where Rebus enjoys an occasional dram or two.

Another tour takes you to Leith and the docklands area, the Red-light district followed by a walk up to Warriston Cemetery and the setting of scenes in The Hanging Garden. These Rebustours are very cleverly and evocatively presented by John Skinner who also reveals fascinating stories, facts and figures about the city streets, place names and local history. Even if you have never read a Rebus novel the walks are entertaining and illuminating in their own right - but then you are sure to rush off to buy the novels and put the fascinating walk and all that you have experienced into perspective. "Fans of Ian Rankin's books won't want to miss this tour of Rebus's Edinburgh."
    Toronto Star, Canada. "John knows the books inside out and probably knows more about Rebus than I do"
     Ian Rankin.

Rebus Worldwide
Every month each title sells 5,000 copies and with 12 Rebus titles on the back list that totals 60,000 books. Multiply that by 12 months and then add in a new book every year that's a million sales in the UK. The Rebus novels are translated into 17 languages, from Welsh to Japanese. Outside the UK, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Scandinavia have the greatest fans. Black and Blue has recently won the best crime novel award for a book published in Denmark.

Even Rankin himself is a little taken aback about the worldwide popularity:

"I think it's astonishing that so many people would want to read about a dour Presbyterian Edinburgh cop. Crime fiction is going through a second golden age. It seems to me that the literary novel is actually looking back. The crime novel is dealing with illegal immigrants, drugs, and it's dealing with the big moral questions of good and evil. "My later books are a lot longer, denser, more complex than the earlier ones, blending three or four plots, challenging the reader. I want to explain Scotland to myself, to fellow Scots and to the outside world. So far, I'm not sure I've done more than scratch the surface of this bizarre, mixed-up country… but I'll keep trying"
"They (Rebus and Jean) walked down to the Portobello promenade. Kids on skateboards, looking American but sounding pure Porty, swearing like troopers. One chip shop open, that childhood smell of hot fat and vinegar. They still didn't say much, which didn't make them so very different from the other couples they passed. Reticence was an Edinburgh tradition. You kept your feelings hidden and your business your own. Some people put it down to the influence of the Church and figures like John Knox - she'd heard the city called Fort Knox, by outsiders. But to Jean, it was more to do with Edinburgh's geography, its louring rock faces and dark skies, the wind whipping in from the North Sea, hurtling through the canyon-like streets. At every turn you felt overwhelmed and pummelled by your surroundings. Just traveling into town from Portobello she felt it: the bruising and bruised nature of the place. John Rebus too was thinking of Edinburgh.

"Let's head back" she said, " Bloody freezing out here anyway." She slid her arm through his as they walked.
    From The Falls, by Ian Rankin, published by Orion (2001).

Previous pages > 1, 2, 3.

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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