Ian rankin

BBC1’s new Rebus is the kind of TV detective they just don’t make any more

Imagine a new series of Morse in which the real-ale-quaffing, jag-driving opera buff is turned into a speed-snorting mod on a pimped up Lambretta. Or – this one I’d actually like to see – jeune Poirot, featuring a clean-shaven habitué of fin-de-siècle Brussels absinthe dives. This may give you an inkling as to how upset one or two Rebus fans are about the Edinburgh detective’s latest TV incarnation. Confusingly titled Rebus – as opposed to, say, Punk Rebus or Wee Rebussie – the series depicts a protagonist quite a bit younger than his former TV incarnations, grumpy, dishevelled Ken Stott and a mite-too-smooth John Hannah. Still only at the detective-sergeant

The best children’s books: a Spectator Christmas survey

J.K. Rowling Poignant, funny and genuinely scary, The Hundred and One Dalmatians was one of my favourite books as a child and the story has lingered in my imagination ever since. Blue iced cakes always put me in mind of Cruella de Vil’s experimental food colourings, and whenever our dogs whine to get out at dusk I imagine them joining the canine news network, the twilight barking. There’s simply no resisting a book containing the lines ‘There are some people who always find beauty makes them feel sadder, which is a very mysterious thing’, and ‘Mr Dearly was a highly skilled dog-puncher’. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall There are countless children’s

Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution should be called ‘The Tragedy of Gordon Brown’

Murder Island features eight real-life ‘ordinary people’ seeking to solve a fictional killing on a fictional Scottish island. What follows is so confused and confusing that you can only imagine it was pitched to Channel 4 as ‘Broadchurch meets The Apprentice’ and nodded through as a result, without anybody asking such pesky questions as ‘So how might that work, then?’ Or if they did, that they were silenced by the news that Ian Rankin was signed on as the writer — whatever that might mean, seeing as most of the programme is necessarily unscripted and the investigation itself impossible to plot in advance. Tuesday’s opening episode began with the ordinary

I Live Here Now: a short story by Ian Rankin

Ever since his daughter’s death, John Bates had all but given up. Eunice had been 17, bubbly and surrounded by friends, keen to leave school behind to study history at university. She’d been a passionate cook and hockey player, not yet ready for a steady boyfriend, and loved absolutely by both her parents. But then one night she had consumed almost an entire bottle of vodka before climbing on to a parapet and leaping into a river swollen by over a week of near-constant rain. John and his wife Emily had sat numbed for days on end as relatives and neighbours passed through the house, offering solace and paying tribute.