Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Ian Rankin: Young Rebus may not be as much work as I thought. So I might do it

Rebus author Ian Rankin
Rebus author Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin is considering a prequel to his Inspector Rebus novels to reveal more about his most famous detective’s past.

The best-selling author has previously resisted writing about the young Rebus, despite appeals from fans concerned for the future of his ageing hero.

Now the Rebus creator has realised writing a book set decades in the past could be simpler than he previously thought.

Crime detection was less complex in the pre- internet, pre-smartphone age and, he says, there’s still a lot about the character’s earlier years to explore.

Rankin has been inspired after recently completing his literary hero William McIlvanney’s final, unfinished Laidlaw novel, set in Glasgow in the 1970s.

He said: “The fun thing about it was setting a book in the past means you don’t need to worry about CCTV, mobile phones, computers, DNA analysis of crime scenes and autopsies and everything else.

“It was a much simpler world to write about and that was like a breath of fresh air to me. I now feel a bit more confident about writing about young Rebus.

“People say ‘oh my God, Rebus is almost 70 now, you can’t do much more with him in the present day, why don’t you go back in time?

“I’d say ‘no, that’s historical novels, you’ve got to do lots of research and that’s hard work. I don’t do hard work’.

“But having done this, A, it’s an interesting period, B it’s fun because there’s no CCTV and computers, and there’s quite a lot about early Rebus we still don’t know.

“So it’s given me the confidence that if I ever did want to go that route I could do it. Not the next book but maybe in a couple of books’ time.”

Ken Stott as Rebus

McIlvanney’s 1977 novel Laidlaw was the first in a series of books considered the foundation of the Tartan Noir genre now led by Rankin. Two more books in the Laidlaw series followed: The Papers Of Tony Veitch, and Strange Loyalties. McIlvanney was working on a prequel when he died in 2015.

Set in 1972, The Dark Remains was to feature the first case of DI Jack Laidlaw. Rankin agreed to complete the work after being asked by McIlvanney’s widow Siobhan.

On BBC Scotland’s The Big Scottish Book Club, to be shown tonight, Rankin, whose Rebus novels include Black & Blue and Let It Bleed, said: “It was like a homage. This guy was like a mentor, he was a guy that I respected.

“He was such an important character to me because he was working-class, Scottish but literate and literary.

“He’d won literary prizes before he wrote Laidlaw and it made it OK for me to write crime fiction because it was literature. If Willie was doing it, it was literature. So he was a huge influence on me and I just wanted to pay him back.”