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Ian Rankin:
A Companion to the Mystery Fiction

Ian Rankin is considered by many to be Scotland's greatest living crime fiction author. Most well known for his Inspector Rebus series--which has earned critical acclaim as well as scores of fans worldwide--Rankin is a prolific author whose other works include spy thrillers, nonfiction books and articles, short stories, novels, graphic novels, audio recordings, television/film, and plays.

This companion--the first to provide a complete look at all of his writings--includes alphabetized entries on Rankin's works, characters, and themes; a biography; a chronology; maps of Rebus' Edinburgh; an exclusive interview with Ian Rankin; and an annotated bibliography. A champion of both Edinburgh and Scotland, Rankin continues to combine engaging entertainment with socio-political commentary showing Edinburgh as a microcosm of Scotland, and Scotland as a microcosm of the world. His writing investigates questions of Scottish identity, British history, masculinity, and contemporary culture while providing mystery readers with complex, suspenseful plots, realistic character development, and a unique mix of American hard-boiled and procedural styles with Scottish dialects and sensibilities.


The book was nominated for an Edgar Award (Best Critical/Biographical) by the Mystery Writers of America and a Macavity Award by Mystery Readers International and is available through many sites including and Amazon in both eBook and paperback formats.


“Fascinating biography…definitely belongs in mystery reference collections…Rebus devotees will love having a copy at the ready when they find themselves wanting to check backstories on the multiple repeating characters.”—Booklist


“The McFarland Companion series…has been consistently excellent, both in its choice of subjects and its quality of scholarship and writing.”—Mystery Scene


Detective Inspector John Rebus: An Investigation into Contradiction
Detective Inspector John Rebus:
An Investigation into Contradiction

This chapter on Ian Rankin’s celebrated detective John Rebus explores his roles in the Tartan Noir and police procedural genres, his commentary on the Scottish character, and his analysis of the contradictory nature of his home city, Edinburgh.


In Crime Uncovered: Detective, Barry Forshaw offers an exploration of some of the most influential and popular fictional police detectives in the history of the genre. Taking readers into the worlds of such beloved authors as P. D. James, Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbø, Ian Rankin, and Håkan Nesser, this book zeroes in on the characteristics that define the iconic characters they created, discussing how they relate to their national and social settings, questions of class, and to the criminals they relentlessly pursue. Showing how the role of the authority figure has changed—and how each of these writers creates characters who work both within and against the strictures of official investigations—the book shows how creators cleverly subvert expectations of both police procedure and the crime genre itself.


Robert Downey Jr. - Erin E. MacDonald
Robert Downey Jr. from Brat to Icon:
Essays on the Film Career

Robert Downey Jr. may be best known as Iron Man, but his career as an actor stretches back to the 1980s and features several Oscar-quality roles. He has worked with a wide range of innovative directors from Oliver Stone and Robert Altman to Richard Linklater and Shane Black, and has played punk kids, detectives, journalists and even a serial killer. This fascinating collection of essays combines scholarly attention to detail with a highly readable style to examine, in roughly chronological order, more than 25 of Downey's best performances in films as diverse as Less Than Zero, Chaplin, Natural Born Killers, A Scanner Darkly, The Soloist and Tropic Thunder.


Reviews and Interviews

Interview with Francis Siebert

Amazon Review

Ed McBain/Evan Hunter - Erin E. MacDonald
Ed McBain/Evan Hunter:
A Literary Companion

One of the most prolific crime writers of the last century, Evan Hunter published more than 120 novels from 1952 to 2005 under a variety of pseudonymns. He also wrote several teleplays and screenplays, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, and the 1954 novel The Blackboard Jungle. When the Mystery Writers of America named Hunter a Grand Master, he gave the designation to his alter ego, Evan McBain, best known for his long-running police procedural series about the detectives of the 87th Precinct.


Reviews and Interviews


"An astounding labour of love" - Kevin Burton Smith,


"4 out of 5 stars; a must." - J. Engels


"5 out of 5 stars; Remarkably well-researched and a great read."

- Lee Goldberg, Top 1000 Reviewervine™ Voice


Interview with Ed Gorman


Interview/Podcast with David English

Ghosts and Skeletons: Metaphors of Guilty History in Ian Rankin's Rebus Series
Robbie the Early Riser

Does your little one get you up at the crack of dawn every day? Kids and parents alike will love this silly, heartwarming story about a boy who loves to daydream and the mother who realizes that she loves him just the way he is. In a tone similar to the style of Robert Munsch, “Robbie the Early Riser” goes through the waking, sleeping, and eating routine of a young boy whose mother thinks there is something wrong with him because he gets up so early. It uses humour, repetition, and charmingly expressive illustrations to explain, in terms that all ages will understand, how this mother-son duo overcomes conflict and learns to embrace creativity.

Ghosts and Skeletons: Metaphors of Guilty History in Ian Rankin's Rebus Series
Ghosts and Skeletons:
Metaphors of Guilty History
in Ian Rankin's Rebus Series

The author examines Ian Rankin's use of the gothic convention of the ghost in Black and Blue, Dead Souls, Set in Darkness, and "The Very Last Drop." In these works, ghosts and skeletons are used as metaphors for Detective Inspector John Rebus's guilt over past mistakes and for the dark past of his home city, Edinburgh.

Writing Today - Erin E. MacDonald
Writing Today: Contexts and Options for the Real World (2nd Edition)

Writing Today provides the writing, reading, and speaking skills that students need to succeed in their course work and in their professional careers. The accessible tone, contemporary content, and innovative activities encourages students to practice their critical reading and writing skills. Recognizing how varied each composition course is, the text has been written in a modular way to support easy customization.

Writing Today - Erin E. MacDonald
Writing Today: Contexts and Options for the Real World (1st Edition)

As a guide to the writing process, this flexible rhetoric, research guide, reader and handbook is a complete package for the first-year composition course. Since effective writers are strong communicators in any context, Writing Today not only focuses on the development of good academic writing, but also points to applications beyond the post-secondary environment.

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