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Issue 15 - Edinburgh, whisky and crime (Ian Rankin)

Whisky Magazine Issue 15
April 2001


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Edinburgh, whisky and crime (Ian Rankin)

Marcin Miller talks to author Ian Rankin, 'the hottest name in British crime fiction', a whisky enthusiast with a gift for finding good bars

Two years ago Ian Rankin's Black and Blue won The Macallan Gold Dagger, the annual international crime writing award. “That is when things really took off, sales quadrupled. Everything clicked.” He is now the hottest name in British crime fiction.

Ian Rankin is bright, welcoming and affable. Three qualities that are notably absent from the murky and schizophrenic Edinburgh about which he writes. “The dark side of Rebus is reflected in everything; it's reflected in Edinburgh, it's reflected in the job that he does, it's reflected in the literature that I come from ... It comes from that, it comes from the tradition of the crime novel and it comes a bit from me. You know, there's a dark core inside me as well which is maybe exorcised by the writing of these books.”

Ian Rankin never wanted to be a crime writer. A writer, yes. But a proper ‘literary one': that had been his ambition since university. “I thought I was going to become a university lecturer writing these very elegant, intricate novels of the human condition on the side.” He became a crime writer by accident. His interest in Scottish fiction led to a desire to reclaim the Jekyll & Hyde story and return it to Edinburgh, rescuing it from its ostensible London setting: “But instead of making the good guy a doctor, I decided to make him a cop.” As Noughts and Crosses featured a policeman it was accepted as a crime novel. “I was shocked to go into the booksellers and see it in the crime section beca...

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