Crime Scene Edinburgh: 20 Years of Rankin and Rebus

In this free National Library of Scotland exhbition, Ian Rankin looked back on 20 years with his fictional alter ego, Inspector Rebus. The exhibition ran from 24 October 2007 to 13 January 2008.


Ian Rankin © Rankin
Ian Rankin.
© Rankin

Award-winning Scottish author Ian Rankin has written what is expected to be his final Inspector Rebus novel.

Launched to to accompany the publication of 'Exit Music', this exhibition is a retrospective of the great detective and the murky criminal underbelly of Edinburgh.

'Crime Scene Edinburgh: 20 Years of Rankin and Rebus' is the first exhibition at the National Library of Scotland to honour a contemporary author.

It explores several themes, including:

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The Oxford Bar.
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  • Ian Rankin's development as a writer and his process of writing
  • The character arc of John Rebus
  • The key part that the city of Edinburgh plays in the books
  • The various factors that have made the Rebus stories such a success
  • How policing and forensic science have changed over the past two decades.
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District Court.
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Visitors also have the chance to put their sleuthing skills to the test with interactive case-solving activities.

The success of Rebus

Inspector Rebus has made Ian Rankin OBE the UK's number one bestselling crime author. Although Rankin has written other books, some of them under an assumed name, it is for Rebus that he is most famous. The books have topped bestseller lists and some have been adapted into a major TV series. The first Rebus novel was 'Knots and Crosses', published in 1987.

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Old Fishmarket
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The success of the series has also rubbed off on Scotland's capital city. Edinburgh is a central character in many of the stories, not just a backdrop to Rebus's investigations. As a result, ardent fans can now enjoy guided Rebus walking tours of relevant sites.

Ian Rankin at NLS

In conjunction with the exhibition, Ian Rankin talked about planning the end of the Rebus character in 'The end of the line ...' at NLS on Tuesday 27 November.


Edinburgh images © Jackie Freshfield.


Crime Scene Edinburgh: 20 Years of Rankin and Rebus

'Crime Scene Edinburgh: 20 Years of Rankin and Rebus'

Wednesday 24 October 2007 to Sunday 13 January 2008
George IV Bridge Building.


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Exhibition sponsored by Scottish & Newcastle.


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