Ian Rankin, OBE, DL (born Cardenden, Fife, Scotland, April 28, 1960) is a Scottish crime writer. His best known books are the Inspector Rebus novels. He has also written several pieces of literary criticism.
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). He was initially disconcerted by their classification as genre fiction, but later became reconciled when he realized that the statements he wanted to make about Scottish society were not going to be any less pertinent for their being contained in what was perceived as crime novels.
Rankin has received numerous awards and honors, including the 1997 CWA Gold Dagger for Fiction for Black and Blue, the 2003 French Grand Prix du Roman Noir, the 2004 Edgar Award for Resurrection Men, the 2005 CWA Lifetime Achievement Award (Cartier Diamond Dagger), the 2005 French Grand Prix du Roman Policier (France) for Set in Darkness, the 2005 Deutscher Krimi Preis (Germany) for Resurrection Men and the 2008 ITV3 Crime Thriller Award for Author of the Year for Exit Music. In 2002, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to literature. In 2011, a group of ten book sculptures were deposited around Edinburgh as gifts to cultural institutions and the people of the city. Many of the sculptures made reference to the work of Rankin, and an eleventh sculpture was a personal gift to him.
Major Awards and Honors
Order of the British Empire
- 2002: Officer of the British Empire
British National Book Awards
- 2005: Thriller & Crime Novel of the Year – “Fleshmarket Close”
- 2007: Thriller & Crime Novel of the Year – “The Naming of the Dead”
- 2012: Outstanding Achievement – Lifetime Achievement Award
(CWA – Crime Writers’ Association, Great Britain)
- 1994: Macallan Short Story Dagger – “A Deep Hole”
- 1996: Macallan Short Story Dagger – “Herbert in Motion”
(in Perfectly Criminal and EQ #673-#674, September-October 1997)
- 1997: Gold Dagger – “Black and Blue”
- 2005: Diamond Dagger – Lifetime Achievement Award
ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards
- 2008: Author of the Year – “Exit Music”
- 2009: International Crime Writing Hall of Fame
Edgar (Allan Poe) Awards
(Mystery Writers of America)
- 2004: Best Novel – “Resurrection Men”
Raymond Chandler Fulbright Scholarship
Grand Prix de Littérature Policière (France)
- 2005: “Dead Souls”
Grand Prix du Roman Noir (France)
Deutscher Krimi-Preis (German Crime Fiction Prize)
- 2003: Second Place – “The Falls” and
“The Black Book”
- 2005: First Place – “A Question of Blood”
Palle Rosencrantz Prize (Denmark)
- 2001: “Black and Blue”
The Finnish Whodunnit Society
- 2003: International Whodunnit Prize – John Rebus series
- The Early Years (1999)
- A Good Hanging (1992)
– Short stories.
- Well Shot (1993)
– Short story; published in 2nd Culprit (not included in any Rebus short story collection).
- The St. Leonard’s Years (2001)
- Strip Jack (1992)
- The Black Book (1993)
- Mortal Causes (1994)
- The Lost Years (2003)
- Let it Bleed (1995)
- Black and Blue (1997)
- The Hanging Garden (1998)
- Death Is Not the End (1998)
– Novella, later expanded into Dead Souls.
- Get Shortie (1999)
– Short story; published in Crime Wave 2, Deepest Red, June edition (not included in any Rebus short story collection).
- The Acid Test (1999)
– Short story; published in EQMM, August edition (not included in any Rebus short story collection).
- Capital Crimes (2004)
- Dead Souls (1999)
- Set in Darkness (2000)
- The Falls (2001)
- Beggars Banquet (2002)
– Short stories (including some non-series entries).
- Three Great Novels (2007)
- Resurrection Men (2002)
- A Question of Blood (2003)
- Fleshmarket Close (2004)
- The Complete Short Stories (2005)
- A Good Hanging (1992)
- Beggars Banquet (2002)
- Atonement (2005)
– Stand-alone short story.
- The Naming Of The Dead (2006)
- Exit Music (2007)
- The Beat Goes On: The Complete Rebus Stories (2014)
- In the Nick of Time (2014)
– Short story; in: Face Off (anthology; edited by David Baldacci).
- Charades (2017)
– Short story; published in Country Life, December 13-20, 2017.
- The Complaints (2009)
- The Impossible Dead (2011)
Books Featuring Both Rebus and Fox
- Standing in Another Man’s Grave (2012)
- Saints of the Shadow Bible (2013)
– With bonus short story Dead and Buried.
- Even Dogs in the Wild (2015)
- Rather Be the Devil (2016)
– With bonus short story Cafferty’s Day.
- In a House of Lies (2018)
- A Song for the Dark Times (2020)
Non-Series Novels and Novellas
- Summer Rites (1984)
– Published fragment of Rankin’s first novel (unpublished in its complete form).
- The Flood (1986)
- Watchman (1988)
- Westwind (1990)
- Doors Open (2008)
- A Cool Head (2009)
- The Travelling Companion (2016)
– Limited edition bibliomystery; in: Death Sentences (anthology, edited by Otto Penzler).
Writing as Jack Harvey:
Graphic Novels and Novellas
- Dark Entries (2009)
– Vertigo Crime series book featuring John Constantine (Hellblazer); with art by Werther Dell’Edera.
- The Lie Factory (2013)
– Illustrated by Tim Truman; part of the Kickback City CD package, featuring Rory Gallagher songs fictionalized in the novella and with narration by Aidan Quinn.
Non-Series and Stand-Alone Short Stories
- An Afternoon (1984)
– In: New Writing Scotland No. 2; revised version published in OxCrimes, 2014 (anthology for the benefit of Oxfam).
- Voyeurism (1985)
– In: New Writing Scotland No. 3.
- Colony (1986)
– In: New Writing Scotland No. 4.
- Scarab (1986)
– In: Scottish Short Stories 1986.
- Territory (1987)
– In: Scottish Short Stories 1987.
- Remembrance (1988)
– In: Cencrastus, Spring edition.
- Marked for Death (1992)
– In: Constable New Crimes 1.
- Adventures in Babysitting (1995)
– In: No Alibi; republished in Master’s Choice II (2000).
- Herbert in Motion (1997)
– Limited edition chapbook collection of short stories previously published in magazines:
- Herbert in Motion
- The Serpent’s Back
- My Shopping Day
– Rebus story.
- No. 79
- The Missing (1999)
– In: Crime Wave, March edition.
- The Slab Boys (2000)
– In: Scenes of Crime (CWA anthology, edited by Martin Edwards).
- Criminal Minded (2000)
– Anthology; editor.
- Soft Spot (2005)
– In: Dangerous Women (anthology; edited by Otto Penzler).
- Showtime (2005)
– In: One City (anthology for the benefit of the Edinburgh One City Trust).
- Sinner: justified (2006)
– In: Superhumanatural (companion publication for Scottish artist Douglas Gordon’s solo exhibition of the same name).
- Graduation Day (2006)
– In: Murder in the Rough (anthology, edited by Otto Penzler).
- Fieldwork (2009)
– In: Ox-Tales: Earth (1 of 4 anthologies for the benefit of Oxfam, themed for the 4 elements).
- Meet & Greet (2015)
– In: The Strand XLVI.
- The Kill Fee (2015)
– In: The New Statesman, December 18, 2015 – January 8, 2016.
- Gesualdo (2008)
– Opera, with Craig Armstrong.
- Dark Road (2014)
– Play, with Mark Thomson.
- The Third Gentleman (1997)
– Black comedy set in 1790s Edinburgh; BBC, October 25, 1997.
- Jackie Leven Said (2005)
– Short story reading recorded live; joint appearance with Jackie Leven.
- The Sixth Stone (2007)
– With musician Aidan Moffat, on the album Ballads of the Book, featuring collaborations between Scottish musicians and Scottish writers.
- This Has Been the Death of Us (2009)
– With Scottish indie band Saint Jude’s Infirmary.
- The Deathwatch Journal (2017)
– BBC broadcast / audiobook, read by Jimmy Chisholm.
- Detective Novels: The Pact Between Authors and Readers (1988)
– Article published in The Writer, December edition.
- Rebus’s Scotland (2005)
– Memoir and reflections on Edinburgh and Scotland; with photographs by Ross Gillespie and Tricia Malley.
- Oxford Bar (2007)
– Essay; in the anthology How I Write: The Secret Lives of Authors.
- John Rebus (2007)
– Limited edition chapbook; in the UK edition of The Beat Goes On included as Rankin on Rebus.
- Ian Rankin Interviews Arthur Conan Doyle (2013)
– In: Dead Interviews: Living Writers Meet Dead Icons; editor: Dan Crowe.
A Selection of Quotes
“Rebus was eating breakfast in the canteen and wishing there was more caffeine in the coffee, or more coffee in the coffee come to that.”
“It seemed to him a very Edinburgh thing. Welcoming, but not very.”
Find more quotes by Ian Rankin on Goodreads.