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Books, The books interview: Ian Rankin, ‘I couldn’t get on with War and Peace’

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Ian Rankin: ‘I’m at an age where I put a book aside rather than fight my way to the bitter end.’ Photograph by Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian

The crime author on why he loves comics, his early interest in taboo worlds – and how he keeps his detective Rebus fresh in the age of tech.

Ian Rankin , 58, best known for his Inspector Rebus novels, has sold 28 m copies of his books worldwide. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has won numerous awards, including the Theakston’s Old Peculier crime novel of the year award and the CWA lifetime achievement award . His latest Rebus novel (the 22nd), In a House of Lies , entered the bestseller charts at No 1.

You retired Rebus from the police force in 2007 (in Exit Music ), but he still wants to help solve crimes. How much of a challenge is that creatively?

I’ve got this guy in his mid-late 60 s who doesn’t have a warrant card, can’t blithely walk into any police station and get past the front desk. So if he wants to be...

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