Friday, 4 November 2016

Crime, anyone?

Mention the name John Rebus and my ears perk up. I'm never sure how much Ken Stott contributed to my being drawn to the books by Ian Rankin, because I am not really a thriller or crime fan. John Hannah was not ideal for the role though I love him in The Mummy and films of that type where his comedy touch is excellent. Oh, and I'm forgetting how good he was in Four weddings and a funeral. But somehow, he was never John Rebus, whereas Ken Stott with his distinctive voice and unprepossessing looks dragged me in from the start.

The character was born thirty years ago and is still going strong, though I've read that it took five or six titles before the tide turned and Rankin and Rebus became popular. I've long known that John tried  and failed for the SAS but have only recently realised that Rebus is an immigrant. His family came from either Hungary or Poland. Now I'm wondering why Rankin chose, back in 1984, to give him that family history. It certainly gives the books an added twist and allows Rankin to explore such a strand in the current climate - if he wishes to do so. I suspect he will ignore it, because he won't want to alienate fans, and whatever he says, it will alienate someone. That seems to be the way of the world now. Free speech is very nearly a forgotten concept in the UK.

I'm currently beginning a re-read of the Black Book, one of the early titles. No 7, I think. I may go right back to Noughts and Crosses and read the whole lot. It isn't the crime itself that intrigues me, but the way Rebus goes about solving it. The way Rankin develops character is one of the best things about the writing and if you are a pop music fan, then you can join Rankin/Rebus and enjoy his choices. This one is full of bad puns on Elvis records, but a menu featuring Blue Suede Choux raised a smile.

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