Ian Rankin is a crime writer.

I am mostly interested in what the crime tells us about ourselves and the society we live in. So it’s not a game I’m playing with the reader; I’m approaching things as a straight novelistFor me a good crime novel shows the world in a way which makes me think about it as I’ve not thought about it before.  in Mail Online.

Rankin has created two series. The inspector Malcolm Fox series of which there are two novels: The Complaints and The Impossible Dead.

Of The Detective inspector Rubus series there are too many books to mention. To date almost twenty books. He’s also written a non-fiction on Rubus’s Scotland, short stories, other novels and three mystery books under the pen name Jack Harvey.

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 Edgar and Anthony Awards in the USA, and won Denmark’s Palle Rosenkrantz Prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir and the Deutscher Krimipreis.

Not bad for a guy who never really set out to be a crime writer.

I have an office of sorts in my house. There will be music on the hi-fi, and I’ll sit on the sofa (if mulling), or at one desk (if writing longhand notes) or the other (if typing on to my laptop). My writing computer isn’t exactly state of the art – it can’t even access the internet – but I’ve written my last seven or eight novels on it, and it seems to work fine.

Writers' rooms: Ian Rankin

Photographer: Eamonn McCabe

There are a lot of pictures on the walls in my office, but you can’t see them because I can’t have anything on the wall in front of me when I’m working, otherwise I get distracted.

With worldwide sales of 30 million for his Rebus books, the writer is just the man to compile Event’s Ten-point guide to writing the perfect whodunit… If you’re writing a crime novel this is a MUST site to visit.

What is a good crime novel for you?

26 thoughts on “IAN RANKIN

  1. Carol – Excellent profile on a very, very talented crime writer. He’s had so much good advice about crime writing too. I’m glad you featured him.


  2. I like Nordic thrillers in the crime-drama genre, particularly Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series. I think the cold, stark setting adds to the drama. I also like the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly though I’ve only read a couple of his.


    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Carrie.\
      I haven’t got to the Nordic thrillers yet. I intend to do a series on them eventually.

      I’ve noticed that you don’t have a Home page on your blog to find previous posts. I’d love to do that. 🙂


      • I think the British are the best at it and yes Canada has some greats as to Scandinavian I am not sure haven’t read or seen much apart from seeing the Danish original series version of The Killing and that was superb.


    • Diahann, my knowledge is merely based on research that i do. No big mystery there.
      That’s a neat observation you made about his office looking like a crime detective’s office. I wonder if he ever wanted to be a detective.
      When I was young I wanted to be a detective but women then weren’t permitted in the Police Force. I think I write crime novels to live out that dream vicariously.
      Have a gorgeous weekend. 🙂


  3. I am not much on crime novels, unless you count political biographies!! What Rankin said about, not having photos or anything in front of where he writes is interesting. It is so easy to get distracted given half a chance when you are sitting down to write.


    • Everything distracts me. Getting up for more tea. Checking my e-mails. Doing my nails. Answering the phone. Putting a wash on the line just because it’s nice out.
      That’s the disadvantage of working at home.
      Thanks for reading, Frank, and for commenting.
      Have a super weekend. 🙂


  4. That’s it, he’s going to the top of my list. I love that he never set out to be a crime writer, and look at his works now. His office .. well, I’m guessing everything was organized in his mind. Somehow.


    • I feel the same way. Just the beginning of his novels grabs you. I don’t know if you took the time to read the links I posted but they’re really neat.
      Thanks for reading and for commenting.
      Have a really wonderful weekend, Sylvia. 🙂


  5. I have one Ian Rankin book. I began reading and things happened. I will have to get back to it soon. Love your researching all of these writers. I wish I had twice as many hours to do the things I’d like. Well written. I met a crime novelist from Winnipeg. Just a young man. Months later he died of a massive heart attack. I was blown away. He was the nicest guy and very encouraging as well.


    • Oh, what a sad story about the crime novelist you met. What did he write?
      Winnipeg is so full of talented people. So many great writers came from there: Carol Shields, Gabrielle Roy, Miriam Toews, Marshall McLuhan and so many more.
      And then there are musicians and other artists. I don’t know what it is about that city. Maybe it’s the cold.
      Good material for a post, don’t you think. 🙂

      Have a fabulous weekend. Hope the weather will be nice where you are. 🙂

      Thanks for reading and for commenting.


      • Yes, it is supposed to be nice. I will answer your questions later as I am in bed and the book is in the living room. That’s how lazy I am tonight.

        Another great writer which hasn’t made it to the top, but is awesome is Linda Holeman. She has moved from Winnipeg in the last couple of years but not before I met her. A beautiful lady. She was at my first writing conference I ever attended. How exciting is that?


  6. The Ian Rankin book is titled THE FALLS. First published in Great Britain 2001
    The name of the Winnipeg author who was an up and coming crime writer was MICHAEL Van Rooy. An Ordinary Decent Criminal is dated with his signature to me. 11/12/10 Published in 2005 by Ravenstone in imprint of Turnstone Press.
    I wished I had the time to read and write as much as I would like. Time has a way of evaporating.
    Hope you have a great week-end. The snow is melting here and we see water standing. So wonderful to be alive this moment.


  7. I’m not really a crime novel fan, though I have a soft spot for the ones I read in my teens (Dorothy Sayers and Josephine Tey) still, everyone speaks so well of Rankin, maybe I’ll get there in the end.


    • Hilary, there’s so much to read that i can’t keep up. I think we need to be selective and read what’s enjoyable for us…what we like to read and need to read..
      Hope you’re enjoying your weekend.


  8. Carol – Thanks for the terrific post on Ian Rankin. I’ve only read his Bleeding Hearts, which I understand is not necessarily his sublime best but which I enjoyed nonetheless. And thanks for the Daily Mail link on the ten-point guide to writing the perfect novel. Those UK papers have great book sections! I love his quote : “in my experience, you invariably find that if you’ve thought of something, Agatha Christie thought of it first.” BTW everything distracts me too … 🙂


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