A major new exhibition marking the 20th anniversary of the first Inspector Rebus novel opens this week at the National Library of Scotland. Opening on Wednesday 24 October, Crime Scene Edinburgh is a timely retrospective on the career of the great detective and his creator, Ian Rankin.
The exhibition at the National Library of Scotland comes in the wake of the release last month of Exit Music, the final Rebus novel, and marks a sort of homecoming for both author and detective: Ian Rankin wrote much the first Rebus novel, Knots and Crosses, in the Library's reading rooms, where he divided his time between fiction writing and work on his PhD thesis on Dame Muriel Spark.
The exhibition tells the story of the development of Rankin the creator, Rebus the creation and of the city of Edinburgh, which Ian Rankin has described as being the central character of his books. It explores the formative influences on Rankin - both literary and otherwise - takes in other tales from Edinburgh's dark underbelly and looks at the thriving contemporary Scottish crime-writing scene.
With the help of Lothian and Borders Police, there is also a revealing look both at the history of the force as well as at contemporary police procedures and forensic science. Indeed, visitors will have the chance to do some sleuthing of their own as clues throughout the exhibition lead to the culprit in the National Library's very own murder mystery.
Timelines plot key milestones in the stories of both author and character, and interactive features include the chance to listen to clips of Ian Rankin reading from his work and explaining how the character of Rebus was created, and visitors can also watch clips from the television series.
Jointly arranged with Orion Books and sponsored by Scottish and Newcastle, this promises to be an entertainingly diverse exhibition. Items on display include, the original manuscript of Knots and Crosses, a C-90 cassette recording of Rankin's abortive punk band, the Flying Pigs, the death mask of William Burke (of Burke and Hare fame), Ian Rankin's old computer, assorted police memorabilia, a signed first edition copy of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, material from Edinburgh indie band St Jude's infirmary, an original Sherlock Holmes manuscript and a recreation of famous Rebus haunt, the Oxford Bar.
National Librarian Martyn Wade said: 'Ian Rankin has been a good friend to the Library throughout his career and we're both honoured and delighted to be staging this exhibition. The mix of Ian's own personal memorabilia, material from the Library's collections and a wonderful assortment of items from Lothian and Borders Police have allowed us to chart Ian's career and influences, as well as those of Inspector Rebus. There's something here for everyone, from committed Rebus fans to those simply interested in learning a little more about Edinburgh's darker side.'
Anthony Keates, Marketing Director at Orion Books, said: 'Orion Books is delighted to support the National Library of Scotland's Crime Scene Edinburgh exhibition which marks the culmination of Orion's celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary year of bestselling author Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus. The venue for this exhibition is particularly appropriate as Ian wrote much of the first Inspector Rebus novel, Knots and Crosses, within the reading rooms of the National Library. As Rebus has recently retired, this is the perfect time to have a retrospective on both author and character and to celebrate the city which has played such an important role in their lives.
The exhibition will be open from 10am to 5pm from Monday to Saturday and 2pm to 5pm.
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge
Tel: 0131 623 3700
21 October 2007