Dirty, divorced and often depressed. A stereotypical Scottish hardman, externally fierce and gruff, seeks willing companion for decades long bout of heavy drinking, detective work and self-destructive behaviour. Unwilling to make an effort.
Detective Inspector John Rebus does not make a good personal ad.
Yet, for the last 20 years, Ian Rankin has carried Rebus with him - in this work, in his heart and always, always on his mind. Is it any wonder that after spending 17 books in conversation with the Strawman of Edinburgh, a break-up would eventually have to come?
But a break can bring a lot of things. When Inspector Rebus was forced into retirement two years ago, there were fears that freed from the trials of the no-nonsense cop, the creator would find greener and happier pastures to roam in. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In 2010, I spoke with Scottish writer Ian Rankin about the recent retirement of literary muse, John Rebus. Perhaps the most interesting part of the interview however was when Rankin talked about the place of crime fiction in the broader world of literature and the subtle work that writers like Ian McEwan, John Bandville [as Benjamin Black] and himself were doing to make crime fiction and literary fiction one and the same.
Click HERE to read this interview in full as well as other interviews with Ann Enright, John Arden, Kevin Barry, Colm Tóibin, Julian Gough, Donal Ryan, Colin Barrett, Catherine O'Flynn and Danielle McLaughlin.