Ian Rankin, Doors Open
Ian Rankin’s creation, Inspector John Rebus is a popular hero that transcends the stereotypical detective figure. Rankin uses the form to fill out a rounded character, a sense of place and the wider social reality. The is a standalone thriller, post Rebus and more in common with Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr than some of the darker British noir school. This edition contains an appreciation by the Scottish crime writer Denise Mina.
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Ian Rankin‘s Inspector John Rebus is probably the best known contemporary British detective series apart from Morse. The first Rebus novel, Knots and Crosses (1987) was originally conceived as a one-off, and was followed by two non-series book before the second installment arrived in 1991. In the early 90s Ian Rankin was little known and although his thrillers showed promise he lacked a market for them. This changed when he decided to work on a book twice the usual length with multiple story lines, a back story rich in Scottish heritage, with overlapping contemporary concerns. Black and Blue (1997) was critically acclaimed, received the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger and created the confidence and space for Rankin to develop and take the Rebus series to new levels; bringing significantly added zest to the growing book trade interest in a detective that was more about shadows and contradictions than solutions – thus noir came out of the shadows. This is his first standalone thriller post Rebus.
The combination of the seedy side of Edinburgh with the hand-drinking, tough but vulnerable policeman with humanity, and deft narratives paced like adventure stories was noted by television producers. Once the right leading man was found Rebus on the small screen came to rival other detective adaptations such as Wexford, Resnick and Morse.
Plotline from the Ian Rankin site: For the right man, all doors are open… Mike Mackenzie is a self-made man with too much time on his hands and a bit of the devil in his soul. He is looking for something to liven up the days and perhaps give new meaning to his existence. A chance encounter at an art auction offers him the opportunity to do just that as he settles on a plot to commit a ‘perfect crime’. He intends to rip-off one of the most high-profile targets in the capital – the National Gallery of Scotland. So, together with two close friends from the art world, he devises a plan to a lift some of the most valuable artwork around. But of course, the real trick is to rob the place for all its worth whilst persuading the world that no crime was ever committed. But soon after he enters the dark waters of the criminal underworld he realises that it’s very easy to drown…
The Scorpion Press edition was issued in 2008 with a run of 80 numbered and signed copies with an Appreciation by Scottish crime writer Denise Mina. She explores Rankin’s skill as a writer and his relationship with the reader. “For me”, she says, “its the situatedness that really sets his work apart and above. The characters are people we know now, the place, the coffee bars, the ancient city is the city of now so that the story is happening around the corner, the scam being plotted in the next booth in a bar, and the weather is outside your window right now. The attention to the details of what is happening around us, of social nuances and shifts, is a central element in the intimacy and and immediacy of his writing”. Doors Open has been made into a television film with Stephen Fry and is due to be shown later in 2012.