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Authors: Ian Rankin

The Black Book

Praise for Ian Rankin

‘Arguably no Scottish novelist since Sir Walter Scott has had the commercial and critical success that Ian Rankin now enjoys. He may even be said to have invented modern Scotland, or at least modern Edinburgh, for his readers, just as Scott did in his time … Rebus lives. So does Rankin’s Edinburgh’

Allan Massie,
Spectator

‘Rankin captures, like no one else, that strangeness that is Scotland at the end of the twentieth century. He has always written superb crime fiction … but what he’s also pinning down is instant history’

Literary Review

‘Rankin writes laconic, sophisticated, well-paced thrillers’

Scotsman

‘Rankin strips Edinburgh’s polite façade to its gritty skeleton’

The Times

‘The real strength of Ian Rankin’s work … is that it’s a good deal more than a crime novel. The genre is simply the wrapper in which a complex story of human flaws and frailty is contained’

Herald

‘Rankin proves himself the master of his own milieu … There cannot be a better crime novelist writing’

Daily Mail

‘Arguably Scotland’s finest living writer’

The Times

‘The internal police politics and corruption in high places are both portrayed with bone-freezing accuracy. This novel should come with a wind-chill factor warning’

Daily Telegraph

‘A brutal but beautifully written series … Rankin pushes the procedural form well past conventional genre limits’

New York Times

‘Ian Rankin’s Inspector John Rebus is one of the most realistic creations in crime fiction … [he] builds his story layer by layer until it reaches a gripping climax. This is a terrific read’

Sunday Telegraph

‘Ian Rankin is widely, and rightly, regarded as the leading male crime writer in Britain’

TLS

‘No other writer in his chosen genre is producing books as rich and comprehensive as this: Dickensian, you might say’

Literary Review

‘Rebus is a masterful creation … Rankin has taken his well-earned place among the top echelon of crimewriters’

Observer

Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel,
Knots and Crosses
, was published in 1987, and the Rebus books are now translated into over thirty languages and are bestsellers worldwide.

Ian 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 and in 2009 was inducted into the CWA Hall of Fame. In 2004, Ian won America’s celebrated Edgar award for
Resurrection Men
. He has also been shortlisted for the Anthony Awards in the USA, and won Denmark’s
Palle Rosenkrantz
Prize, the French
Grand Prix du Roman Noir
and the
Deutscher Krimipreis
. Ian Rankin is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Abertay, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Hull and the Open University.

A contributor to BBC2’s
Newsnight Review
, he also presented his own TV series,
Ian Rankin’s Evil Thoughts
. He has received the OBE for services to literature, opting to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh. He has also recently been appointed to the rank of Deputy Lieutenant of Edinburgh, where he lives with his partner and two sons. Visit his website at
www.ianrankin.net
.

By Ian Rankin
The Inspector Rebus series
Knots & Crosses –
paperback

ebook
Hide & Seek –
paperback

ebook
Tooth & Nail –
paperback

ebook
Strip Jack –
paperback

ebook
The Black Book –
paperback

ebook
Mortal Causes –
paperback

ebook
Let it Bleed –
paperback

ebook
Black & Blue –
paperback

ebook
The Hanging Garden –
paperback

ebook
Death Is Not The End (
novella
)
Dead Souls –
paperback

ebook
Set in Darkness –
paperback

ebook
The Falls –
paperback

ebook
Resurrection Men –
paperback

ebook
A Question of Blood –
paperback

ebook
Fleshmarket Close –
paperback

ebook
The Naming of the Dead –
paperback

ebook
Exit Music –
paperback

ebook
Other Novels
The Flood –
paperback

ebook
Watchman –
paperback

ebook
Westwind
A Cool Head (
Quickread
) –
paperback

ebook
Doors Open –
paperback

ebook
The Complaints –
paperback

ebook
Writing as Jack Harvey
Witch Hunt –
paperback

ebook
Bleeding Hearts –
paperback

ebook
Blood Hunt –
paperback

ebook
Short Stories
A Good Hanging and Other Stories –
paperback

ebook
Beggars Banquet –
paperback

ebook
Non-Fiction
Rebus’s Scotland –
paperback
Ian Rankin
The Black Book
Contents

Cover

Title

Praise for Ian Rankin

About the Author

By Ian Rankin

Introduction

Acknowledgements

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Reading Group Notes

Copyright

Late on in
The Black Book
, I mention a town in the USA called Bar Harbor. The reference may be fleeting, but it reminds me that a lot of the plotting of my novel was actually done in North America. Nineteen ninety-two for me comprised two momentous events. In February, my son Jack was born. And three months later, almost to the day, the family Rankin headed to the USA for an unforgettable six-month stay, made possible by America’s most famous crime writer, Raymond Chandler.

Flashback: early summer the previous year. A letter arrives at our dusty farmhouse in south-west France. We’d been living there full-time for just over a year – refugees from corporate London – and the place was beginning to take shape. I’d only nearly killed myself half a dozen times, falling off roofs, slicing into my boot with a chainsaw, electrocuting myself while rewiring the mains, and going head-over-heels in a bramble patch with a weed-whacker aiming to strip the skin off my face. But the house now had things like ceilings and a bath and rudimentary heating. The broken windows had been mended and the woodworm treated. We even had a sofa, so no longer had to haul the back seat out of the Citroën and into the living room of an evening.

We deserved a break.

It came – of sorts – in the shape of that letter, telling me I’d won the Chandler-Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction. The reward was a chunk of money (courtesy of Raymond Chandler’s estate), with the stipulation that it be spent during the course of a six-month stay in the United States. This was fine with me. I showed my wife Miranda the letter, and she showed me a little strip of card and asked me if I thought the tip was a blueish sort of colour. I said I thought it was, and she said she thought she was pregnant. And so it came to pass that my short-lived dream of a drug-and-drink-fuelled orgy of classic car-driving across America was replaced with something more wholesome. In May 1992, with Jack three months old (the minimum age at which British Airways would carry him), we set out for Seattle. We had friends there, and they gave us time (and space) to get acclimatised. Eventually, with the purchase of a 1969 VW camper van, we were ready for a drive which would last for the next five months and put another 15,000 miles on the VW’s already well-worn clock.

It was as I drove through the USA (and bits of Canada), that I started thinking of my next Rebus novel.
The Black Book
was the result. In it, there’s an Elvis-themed restaurant, situated near Edinburgh’s Haymarket Station. I would find the real thing, however, in a New Orleans backstreet. That place was a dive, but I liked the idea of it, and had a lot of fun thinking up menu items such as the
Love Me Tenderloin
. I also had the opportunity to do a lot of thinking about the series. I was sure in my mind now that it
was
a series, and there were changes I wanted to make. At the end of the previous Rebus novel,
Strip Jack
, I had burned down the fictitious police station where my hero had been based since book one. In
The Black Book
, I moved him to a real-life station on St Leonard’s Street. I also, for the first time, mentioned where he lived – a real street – and took him to the site of the authentic Edinburgh mortuary.

I had also learned lessons in economy. If there was a need for a certain character type in the story, and such a character had been used in one of the previous books, then why not bring them back to life, rather than go to the trouble of inventing some brand-new personality? So it is that people like Matthew Vanderhyde and Jack Morton come back into Rebus’s life. Rebus’s brother Michael reappears, sleeping at Rebus’s flat while Rebus himself has moved in with Dr Patience Aitken. However, I also had room for a new character, a foil for Rebus: Detective Constable Siobhan Clarke. Rebus already had a sidekick of sorts in the shape of Detective Sergeant Brian Holmes, and Siobhan entered the book as just another of Rebus’s colleagues, and someone who might work well beside Holmes. By story’s end, however, and by sheer force of character, she had usurped Holmes. I had found Rebus’s perfect working partner: someone who respected him but could still be infuriated by his reluctance to stick to the rules; someone confident enough in their own abilities to be able to give as good as they got. It was not in Siobhan’s nature to remain ‘just another colleague’; she seemed to have other ideas entirely.

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