Sunday, May 02, 2004

And speaking of Ian Rankin 

Geez. The man just barely gets over a whirlwind trip in and out of New York to collect his Best Novel Edgar when he's hit with some new "controversy" cooked up by his local paper, The Scotsman:

A FICTIONAL Scottish detective is once again investigating controversial events which bear a striking similarity to real life.

Inspector John Rebus, created by bestselling novelist Ian Rankin, is confronted with his most difficult case yet when he has to investigate the murder of a Kurdish refugee.

The plot is reminiscent of the killing of Firsat Dag in Glasgow in 2001, and the novel also features a Dungavel-type detention centre.

But, as the paper points out, this new book, FLESHMARKET CLOSE, isn't even finished yet--Rankin only completed the first draft a couple of days ago and still has to revise the draft, and so he's still figuring things out, to say the least:

"I cannot tell you if it is racially motivated as I am still writing the book.

"The actual name Rebus is Polish I believe, and it leads him to ask about his own past. Most of the research I do involves looking at internet sites and reading newspapers, and extrapolating that information to set it nearer Edinburgh.

"Obviously I have read about Dungavel and what happened to Firsat Dag in Sighthill, but I write fiction.

"In this novel I have my own version of Dungavel, which is set in a fictional part of West Lothian."

Is it me, or does it seem rather silly to start criticizing a book that isn't even finished yet, let alone on bookshelves? Talk about preconceived notions. OTOH, considering how huge Rankin is in Britain, let alone his own country, any whiff of controversy is going to set off the journalists like hungry lapdogs--they are so good at such things...

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