The Life and Career of Crime Writer Ian Rankin


Ian Rankin is a Scottish writer best known for his crime fiction novels featuring Inspector John Rebus. Born on April 28, 1960 in Cardenden, Scotland, Rankin’s early life and career were diverse and paved the way for his success as a writer.

Rankin initially studied literature at the University of Edinburgh, where he also wrote his first novel, “The Flood,” which he published under a pseudonym. After graduation, he worked various odd jobs, including as a grape picker in France, a taxman, and an editor at a medical journal, before pursuing writing as a full-time career.

In 1987, Rankin’s debut novel, “The Flood,” was reissued under his own name and was followed by his first crime fiction novel, “Knots and Crosses,” in 1987. This was the beginning of his iconic Inspector Rebus series, which would go on to become a mainstay in the crime fiction genre.

Rankin’s writing is known for its gripping plots, complex characters, and dark and gritty settings. His stories are often set in his native Scotland, particularly in the city of Edinburgh, and explore themes such as corruption, inequality, and the impact of violence on society.

The popularity of the Rebus series grew with each new installment, and by the late 1990s, Rankin had achieved international success. His books have been translated into over 20 languages and have sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

In addition to his Inspector Rebus series, Rankin has also written several standalone novels, including “The Complaints” and “The Impossible Dead,” which feature other recurring characters. He has also written several short stories and non-fiction books, further showcasing his versatility as a writer.

Rankin’s success has earned him numerous awards and accolades, including four Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards, the Edgar Award for Best Novel, and the prestigious Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement in crime writing. In 2002, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to literature.

Despite his success, Rankin remains grounded and connected to his roots. He continues to live and write in Edinburgh, drawing inspiration from his surroundings and the local culture.

In recent years, Rankin has also diversified his writing by collaborating on projects such as the graphic novel “Dark Entries” and the play “Dark Road,” which was adapted from one of his Rebus novels.

In 2018, Rankin released “In a House of Lies,” the 22nd book in the Inspector Rebus series, to critical acclaim. The novel was praised for its intricate plot, well-developed characters, and expertly crafted suspense. It also debuted at number one on the Sunday Times bestseller list, solidifying Rankin’s enduring popularity among readers.

As for the future, Rankin has hinted at the possibility of retiring Inspector Rebus after the next two books in the series. However, fans need not worry as he has also mentioned the potential for new projects and characters.

In conclusion, Ian Rankin’s journey from student to bestselling crime writer is a testament to his talent and hard work. Through his writing, he has captured the hearts and minds of readers around the world and has become a household name in the crime fiction genre. With a diverse and illustrious career spanning over 30 years, it’s safe to say that Ian Rankin’s legacy will continue to inspire and entertain readers for years to come.