Between the covers: What’s really going on in the world of books

Good news, too, for fans of Ian Rankin’s famous DI Rebus, after the author implied that the retired detective will make a comeback in the novel he is currently writing

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Good news for Karen Joy Fowler fans who fell in love with her Booker shortlisted novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and set out to read her entire backlist. Fowler’s 2001 novel, Sister Noon, is to be published in the UK for the first time on 14 May, with a new introduction by the author.

The novel is set in San Francisco in the 1890s, where “great fortunes are being made and family dynasties established as new money erases the often unsavoury pasts and shady dealings of their founders”. Its publisher, Simon & Schuster, describes it as having “the dark bits of Tim Burton and the shiny bits of Wes Anderson”, while the Pulitzer Prize-winning American author Michael Chabon said that Fowler “re-creates a lost world so thrillingly, with such intelligence, trickery, and art, that when you at last put the book down and look up from the page it all seems to linger, shimmering, around you, like the residue of a marvellous dream”.

Good news, too, for fans of Ian Rankin’s famous DI Rebus, after the author (above) implied on Twitter that the retired detective will make a comeback (his fourth) in the novel he is currently writing. After a series of teasing tweets about the book, one follower asked: “Dare I ask if it is a Rebus?” Rankin replied, “Yes”. Between the Covers first met Rankin in 2008, when he seemed happy to have retired the character and written the first, post-Rebus book, Doors Open.

Then again in 2009, to talk about The Complaints, when a fan approached him to say: “If you’re writing another book, please can we have Rebus back in it? I couldn’t get to grips with that last one.” Rankin replied, with remarkable patience: “Don’t make your mind up just yet. I’ve got a new book out in September [Dark Entries]. It’s got an Edinburgh cop in it ....” Nonetheless, Rebus returned in 2012’s Standing in Another Man’s Grave, 2013’s Saints of the Shadow Bible and last year’s short story collection, The Beat Goes On. Rebus proves to be as bad at retiring as Rankin himself, then.

Also in that 2009 interview, Rankin revealed that he was planning on retiring as soon as Dark Entries was published. “I’m contractually obliged to write one more book,” he said, and then he planned to jack it all in and go travelling when he turned 50. He’s now 54, and still going strong. Long may he, and Rebus, continue.