Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rebus to the tune of auld lang syne

It's hard to believe that Ian Rankin's curmudgeonly detective is about to retire from the force. Sue Turnbull laments his departure but hails his creator.

THE BACK ROOM AT THE Oxford Bar has been cordoned off with crime-scene tape for a private party. The retirement gifts have been purchased; a 25-year-old malt, a book of Edinburgh historical walking tours, and an iPod pre-loaded with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Wishbone Ash and Hawkwind. But can it be true? After 30 years on the force and 20 years in print, is Detective Inspector John Rebus really heading for the exit?

It would seem so. In Exit Music, Rebus appears resigned to his fate, philosophical and even uncharacteristically good-humoured. Returning home after the discovery of a dead Russian poet, beaten to death with a blunt instrument in the vicinity of a multi-storey car park, Rebus chuckles at his own maudlin tendencies, acknowledging that if called upon to do so, he could "maudle for Scotland". And yes, it is a real verb, although regrettably "rare".

As is Rebus, who has come a long way since would-be literary novelist Rankin discovered crime fiction as a genre in which he felt able to say everything he wanted about the world "and still give readers a pacy, gripping narrative".
Bookman Beattie reviewed Exit Music last week on the blog and regrettted Rebus' retirement.
Here is another view from Melbourne's The Age. use this link to read the full story.

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