Ian Rankin: Wikis


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Ian Rankin

Born 28 April 1960 (1960-04-28) (age 49)
Fife, Scotland
Pen name Jack Harvey
Occupation Novelist
Nationality British
Period 1984–present
Genres Crime fiction
Notable work(s) Inspector Rebus
Dark Entries
Official website

Ian Rankin OBE, DL, (born 28 April 1960 in Cardenden, Fife) is a Scottish crime writer. His best known books are the Inspector Rebus novels. He has also written several pieces of literary criticism.



Rankin's standard biography states that before becoming a full-time novelist he worked as grape-picker, swineherd, taxman, alcohol researcher, hi-fi journalist, college secretary and punk musician[1]; he was also a Literature tutor at the University of Edinburgh where he retains an involvement with the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh he moved to London for four years and then rural France for six while he developed his career as a novelist. He attended Beath High School, Cowdenbeath.

He lives in Edinburgh with his wife Miranda and their two sons Jack and Kit.


Rankin did not set out to be a crime writer. He thought his first novels Knots and Crosses and Hide and Seek were mainstream books, more in keeping with the Scottish traditions of Robert Louis Stevenson and even Muriel Spark (the subject of Rankin's uncompleted Ph.D. thesis), and was disconcerted by their classification as genre fiction. However, he was reassured by Scottish novelist Allan Massie, who tutored Rankin while Massie was writer-in-residence at the University of Edinburgh, querying who would want to be a dry academic writer when "they could be John Buchan?"

Rankin's Inspector Rebus novels are mainly set in Edinburgh, and are major contributions to the Tartan Noir genre. Ten of the novels were televised on ITV, starring John Hannah as Rebus in Series 1 & 2 with Ken Stott taking on the role for Series 3-5.

In 2009, he donated the short story Fieldwork to Oxfam's 'Ox-Tales' project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Rankin's story was published in the 'Earth' collection[2].

Rankin stated on Radio Five Live that he would soon start work on a five- or six-issue run on the comic book Hellblazer, although the story may be turned into a standalone graphic novel instead. The Vertigo Comics panel at WonderCon 2009 confirmed that the story would be published as a graphic novel called Dark Entries, the second release from the company's new Vertigo Crime imprint.[3][4][5]


In 2007, Rankin was criticised for saying, "the people writing the most graphic violence today are women. They are mostly lesbians as well, which I find interesting".[6]


He is a regular contributor to the BBC Two arts programme Newsnight Review. His 3-part documentary series on the subject of evil was broadcast on Channel 4 in December 2002. In 2005 he presented a 30-minute documentary on BBC4 called Rankin on the Staircase in which he investigated the relationship between real-life cases and crime fiction, loosely based on the Michael Peterson murder case as documented in Jean-Xavier Lestrade's documentary series Death on the Staircase. The same year he collaborated with folk musician Jackie Leven on the album Jackie Leven Said.

In 2007, Rankin appeared in programmes for BBC Four exploring the origins of his alter-ego character, John Rebus. Titled "Ian Rankin's Hidden Edinburgh" and "Ian Rankin Investigates Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde," Rankin looks at the origins of the character and the events that led to his creation.

In the TV-show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations he takes a trip through Edinburgh with writer/cook Anthony Bourdain.

Awards and honours

Rankin has been elected as a Hawthornden Fellow and won the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He has also won two Crime Writers' Association (CWA) Dagger prizes for short stories and in 1997 the CWA Macallan Gold Dagger for Fiction for Black and Blue (which was also short-listed for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for best novel). He won the Edgar in 2004 for Resurrection Men. In 2005 he was awarded the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger to mark a lifetime's achievement in crime writing. In 2008 he won the ITV3 Crime Thriller Award for Author of the Year, for Exit Music.[7]

He has honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh,[8] the University of Abertay Dundee, the University of St Andrews and, in 2005, from the University of Hull. In June 2002 he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Golden Jubilee Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to literature.

Rankin's novel Exit Music has been shortlisted for Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award 2009.[9]


To date he has written at least 25 novels, 2 short story collections, 1 Original Graphic Novel and 1 non-fiction book. He has also written an entry into Quick Reads 2009:

Year Novel Notes
1986 The Flood
1987 Knots and Crosses 1st Inspector Rebus novel
1988 Watchman
1990 Westwind
1991 Hide and Seek 2nd Inspector Rebus novel
1992 Tooth and Nail 3rd Inspector Rebus novel
Strip Jack 4th Inspector Rebus novel
A Good Hanging and Other Stories Short Stories
1993 Witch Hunt Writing as Jack Harvey
The Black Book 5th Inspector Rebus novel
1994 Bleeding Hearts Writing as Jack Harvey
Mortal Causes 6th Inspector Rebus novel
1995 Blood Hunt Writing as Jack Harvey
Let it Bleed 7th Inspector Rebus novel
1997 Black and Blue 8th Inspector Rebus novel
won Macallan Gold Dagger for Fiction
1998 The Hanging Garden 9th Inspector Rebus novel
1999 Dead Souls 10th Inspector Rebus novel
2000 Set in Darkness 11th Inspector Rebus novel
2001 The Falls 12th Inspector Rebus novel
2002 Resurrection Men 13th Inspector Rebus novel
won The Edgar Award
Beggars Banquet Short Stories
2003 A Question of Blood 14th Inspector Rebus novel
2004 Fleshmarket Close 15th Inspector Rebus novel
2005 Rebus's Scotland: A Personal Journey Non-Fiction
Awarded CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger
2006 The Naming of the Dead 16th Inspector Rebus novel
2007 Exit Music 17th & final Inspector Rebus novel
won ITV3 Crime Thriller Award
2008 Doors Open
2009 A Cool Head Quick Reads 2009
The Complaints
Dark Entries Vertigo Crime featuring John Constantine

Other Publications


Graphic novels

Short stories

  • An Afternoon (1984) (published in New Writing Scotland)
  • Voyeurism (1985) (published in New Writing Scotland)
  • Colony (1986) (published in New Writing Scotland)
  • Territory (1987) (published in Scottish Short Stories 1987)
  • Trip Trap (1992) (published in 1st Culprit)
  • Marked for Death (1992) (published in Constable New Crimes 1)
  • Well Shot (1993) (published in 2nd Culprit)
  • Someone Got to Eddie (1994) (published in 3rd Culprit)
  • A deep hole (1994) (published in London Noir)
  • Adventures in Babysitting (1995) (published in No Alibi and in Master's Choice Two)
  • Natural Selection (1996) (published in Fresh Blood)
  • Auld Lang Syne (1997) (published in The Orion Book of Murder)
  • Principles of Accounts (1997) (published in Mystery's Most Wanted)
  • Death is Not the End (1998) (novella later expanded into Dead Souls)
  • The Hanged Man (2000) (published in The World's finest mystery and crime stories)
  • Saint Nicked (2003) (published in 2 numbers of Radio Times)
  • Soft Spot (2005) (published in Dangerous Women)
  • Not just another Saturday (August 2005) (written for SNIP, a charity organisation)
  • Sinner: justified (2006) (published in Superhumanatural)


  • Horsley, Lee, The Noir Thriller (Houndmills & New York: Palgrave, 2001).
  • Lanchester, John, ‘Rebusworld’, in London Review of Books 22.9 (27/4/2000), pp. 18-20.
  • Lennard, John, 'Ian Rankin', in Jay Parini, ed., British Writers Supplement X (New York & London: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2004), pp. 243–60
  • Mandel, Ernest, Delightful Murder: A Social History of the Crime Story (Leichhardt, NSW, & London: Pluto Press, 1984).
  • Nicol, Christopher, 'Ian Rankin's 'Black & Blue' Scotnote No.24 (Glasgow:ASLS Publications, 2008)
  • Ogle, Tina, ‘Crime on Screen’, in The Observer (London), 16/4/2000, Screen p. 8.
  • Plain, Gill, Ian Rankin’s Black and Blue (London & New York: Continuum, 2002)
  • Plain, Gillian, ‘Ian Rankin: A Bibliography’, in Crime Time 28 (2002), pp. 16-20.
  • Robinson, David, ‘Mystery Man: In Search of the real Ian Rankin’, in The Scotsman 10/3/2001, S2Weekend, pp. 1-4.
  • Rowland, Susan, ‘Gothic Crimes: A Literature of Terror and Horror’, in From Agatha Christie to Ruth Rendell (Houndmills & New York: Palgrave, 2001), pp. 110-34.


  1. ^ See here and here for mention of The Dancing Pigs in interviews.
  2. ^ Oxfam: Ox-Tales
  3. ^ "WC: Vertigo - Innovative and Provocative". Comic Book Resources. 1 March 2009. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=20252. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  4. ^ "Starting Vertigo's Crime Line: Ian Rankin on Dark Entries". Newsarama. March 25, 2009. http://www.newsarama.com/comics/030925-Vertigo-Rankin.html. 
  5. ^ Duin, Steve (April 07, 2009). "Ian Rankin vs. Brian Azzarello". The Oregonian. http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2009/04/ian_rankin_vs_brian_azzarello.html. 
  6. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/sunday-review/arts-and-books/karin-slaughter-the-crime-writer-reveals-why-she-doesnt-flinch-from-extreme-violence-850594.html
  7. ^ Allen, Katie (2008-10-06). "Rankin and P D James pick up ITV3 awards". theBookseller.com. http://www.thebookseller.com/news/68347-rankin-and-p-d-james-pick-up-itv3-awards.html. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  8. ^ "University of Edinburgh Honorary Degrees 2002/03". University of Edinburgh. 28 August 2003. http://www.ed.ac.uk/explore/people/honorary/2002.html. 
  9. ^ "Shortlist for Theakston’s Crime Novel of the year Award 2009". digyorkshire.com. 2009-06-02. http://www.digyorkshire.com/HighlightDetails.aspx?Article=202. Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  10. ^ http://www.ianrankin.net/pages/content/index.asp?PageID=97
  11. ^ http://www.newsarama.com/comics/080815-VertigoCrime.html


  • Nicol, Christopher: Ian Rankin's 'Black & Blue': Scotnote No.24, ASLS Publications,2008

External links



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