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Ian Rankin

The Oxford Bar where Inspector Rebus likes to enjoy a tipple or twoIan Rankin, the best-selling Scottish crime author is famous for the Inspector John Rebus series which are set in Edinburgh. His writings are the most important celebration of the city in modern crime fiction. The series is extremely popular and currently accounts for 10% of all crime book sales in the UK. The books, when read in sequence, follow Rebus' police career and end when he retires at the age of 60.

14 of the 17 novels have been dramatised for television in 5 series. John Hannah starred in the title role for the first 2 series, replaced by Ken Stott for the other 3.

What could our book club do?

  • Stay in the beautiful city of Edinburgh yet explore behind the historic buildings and elegant facades to discover for yourselves the gritty areas more familiar to Inspector Rebus fans.
  • Ian Rankin started his Inspector Rebus novels using fictional names but then decided it was a lot easier to use real places. Take one (or both) of the 2-hour Saturday Inspector Rebus Tours led by a local historian and taking in famous Edinburgh locations from the books such as St. Leonard's Police Station (situated about a 5 minute walk from the author's own home). Readings from the books at strategic points along the route put the buildings and landmarks into context.
  • No Inspector Rebus weekend would be complete without refreshments at the famous Oxford Bar, renowned watering hole for both Rebus and his creator.  Rankin was pleased that by his third visit to the Oxford Bar the staff would pour his beer of choice unprompted!
  • Take a stroll in Holyrood Park and visit Arthur's Seat. Rising to a height of 241 metres the hill offers spectacular panoramic views over the city. Arthur's Seat features in a number of novels including Dead Souls and The Falls.
  • Ian Rankin's handprints were recently sculpted into Caithness Stone in recognition of his status as one of Edinburgh's leading ambassadors and in honour of him being the recipient of the first Edinburgh Award. See the sculpture in the courtyard of Edinburgh's City Chambers on the Royal Mile.

Anything else of interest in the area?

  • One of the best ways to get a real feel for a city is with tickets for a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour.
  • Visit Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, situated at either end of the Royal Mile.
  • Shop on Princes Street.
  • Hop on board the decommissioned Royal Yacht Britannia, docked in nearby Leith. The ship is approached via an exhibition of photographs and other memorabilia charting its history as a favourite Royal "residence".
  • Take an evening ghost walk departing from the Mercat Cross. You will be led through the atmospheric Old Town by a cloaked guide on a fully-narrated 90-minute adventure.

Recommended Ian Rankin reading for your book club

Strip Jack (1992)

Set in Darkness (2000)

The Falls (2001)

Following The Detectives edited by Maxim Jakubowski

Recommended viewing for your book club

Rebus (2006) starring John Hannah and Jim Norton

Book Club Tours look forward to welcoming you to Edinburgh for your Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus tour.


Book Club Tours LLP, 33 Broad Lane, Hampton, Middlesex TW12 3AL • Tel: 020 8979 2285