Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982 and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel was published in 1987 and the Rebus books are now translated into thirty-six languages and are bestsellers worldwide.
Ian Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He is the recipient of four Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards including the prestigious Diamond Dagger in 2005. In 2004, Ian won America’s celebrated Edgar Award for Resurrection Men. He has also been shortlisted for the Anthony Award in the USA, won Denmark’s Palle Rosenkrantz Prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir and the Deutscher Krimipreis. Ian Rankin is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Abertay, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Hull, The Open University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
A contributor to BBC2’s Newsnight Review, Ian Rankin also presented his own TV series, Ian Rankin’s Evil Thoughts.
Rankin has received the OBE for services to literature, opting to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh, where he lives with his wife and two sons.
Knots & Crosses – 1987
And in Edinburgh of all places. I mean, you never think of that sort of thing happening in Edinburgh, do you…?’
‘That sort of thing’ is the brutal abduction and murder of two young girls and now a third is missing, presumably gone to the same sad end. This is the first of the ‘Rebus’ novels. Detective Sergeant John Rebus, smoking and drinking too much, his own young daughter spirited away south by his disenchanted wife, is one of many policemen hunting the killer.
Then the messages begin to arrive: knotted string and matchstick crosses – taunting Rebus with pieces of a puzzle only he can solve.
Tooth & Nail – 1992
They call him the Wolfman – because he takes a bite out of his victims and because they found the first victim in the East End’s lonely Wolf Street.
Scotland Yard are anxious to find the killer and Inspector Rebus is drafted in to help, but his Scotland Yard opposite number, George Flight, isn’t happy at yet more interference. Rebus finds himself dealing with racial prejudice as well as the predations of a violent maniac and when Rebus is offered a serial killer profile of the Wolfman by an attractive female psychologist, it’s too good an opportunity to miss, but in finding an ally, he may have given his enemies an easy means of attack.
The Hanging Garden – 1998
DI Rebus is buried under a pile of paperwork, but an escalating dispute between the upstart Tommy Telford and Big Ger Cafferty’s gang gives Rebus an escape clause.
Telford is known to have close links with a Chechen gangster bringing refugees into Britain as prostitutes. When Rebus takes under his wing a distraught Bosnian call girl, it gives him a personal reason to make sure Telford goes back to Paisley and pronto. Then Rebus’s daughter is the victim of an all too professional hit-and-run and Rebus knows that there is now nothing he won’t do to bring down prime suspect Tommy Telford – even if it means cutting a deal with the devil.
The Impossible Dead – 2011
Malcolm Fox has been assigned an investigation in Fife concerning 3 police detectives, who are suspected of withholding information concerning their fellow co-worker, Paul Carter, who had been recently held in custody charged with several acts of sexual assault.
Carter had been reported by his own uncle, Alan Carter. Fox has had two other members from the complaints department to help him carry out his investigation; Kaye and junior complaints officer, Naysmith. After conducting several interviews and receiving little information, Fox decides to expand his investigation to look more into the detained officer, Carter. After unearthing several highly suspicious pieces of evidence concerning Carter, Fox then catches news that Carter has been released from prison. He is later told that his uncle Alan had been found killed in his own house. After the initial conclusion of suicide, more clues point towards his nephew, Paul, who despite denying this is confirmed as the prime suspect. Paul’s only hope of proving his innocence is Malcolm Fox and his team, who believe there is far more on the matter than detectives believe.