One of the spinoffs (though a welcome one!!) of my avariciously rushing through the buying and reading of Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks novels (recounted with great humour and energy through a series of posts earlier) was the entirely unintended filling of gaps in my collection of Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels.
I heard about Ian Rankin for the first time only around six years ago, when he was all over all the newspapers in India. He was visiting India and there were interviews and articles in all the major English papers. But what caught my attention was a conversation between Rankin and Prakash Karat, then General Secretary of the CPI (M), and an avid Rankin fan, that appeared in The Hindu (28 January 2010 see here). Amidst all the discussion about Rankin’s Rebus novels and crime fiction in general, Karat and Rankin also talk about politics, economics, the working class, etc. It was a very perceptive interview. It not only gave me the motivation to start reading Rankin’s Rebus novels, but also told me in an elliptical manner the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ of reading crime fiction, especially of the police procedural variety.
I remember (through my old posts) buying my first Rankin novel, Knots and Crosses, in July 2010. I had a tough time getting into the world of Rebus. It was my first experience with a police procedural novel after reading a lot of ‘detective fiction.’ I bought other Rebus novels and read them and sometimes bought more than one at a time.
Anyway, all this happened and more happened. Rankin’s novels eased the path towards other novelists and their ‘Inspector’ protagonists … Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo’s Inspector Beck, Henning Mankell’s Inspector Wallander, Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks, Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse (just started …). I used to read these novels as and when I got them, usually at secondhand books shops or stalls at Abids. But the used-books store at Amazon changed everything for me … and the rest is hystery … ha ha ha … it was as if I had discovered a gold mine and went on a buying and binge reading spree, specifically Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks novels. One thing led to another and only two more Banks novels were left to buy, but either was with two different sellers. In the ensuing confusion (recounted here ‘with great hilarity and wit’), I ended up buying all the Rebus novels that were not in my collection so far. So, that’s how my Rebus collection saw completion … except for the most recent one Even Dogs in the Wild …