Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rebus And Weep

Ian Rankin's new novel is out now in hardback and audio.

I've never read anything by him but he's always seemed like a nice bloke. I'm sure he'd say the same about me if I'd been on Newsnight Review.

Here's the publicity shot for the book.

There's a poster containing this picture at Charing Cross station.

It's a bit disconcerting.

Half of his face is in darkness.

He seems to be tightly clutching his ear between two fingers.


What is he after?

Dark, depraved ear sex?

Or readers?


  1. Ian Rankin writes a lot of his novels about criminals and victims in Edinburgh. Anybody who feels the need to write about the arse end of Scotland should be skinned alive and fed his own liver.

  2. Rankin writes who-dunnits. His readers often shout 'Give us a clue!' Ian's publicity photo is therefore a subtle reference to the 1970s/80s classic tv parlour game, 'Give Us A Clue', hosted, as you may remember, by Lionel Blair and Una Scrubbs. Contestants would pinch their earlobes, just as Rankin is doing, to mean 'sounds like' - a hint that they were about to deliver a rhyming clue.

    They should bring back 'Give us a clue', they really should. There just ain't enough garbage on telly these days. Maybe it could replace 'Countdown' when it finally goes down the tubes.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Chris Frumplington is quite right. Rankin is making a subtle reference to the time that two of his novels featured on "Give us a Clue". Who can forget the time that Lionel Blair managed to pull off "The Resurrection Men" and then "Strip Jack" in less than 2 minutes.
    Oh God, Humph, how I miss you.

  5. I think Mr Rankin is a folk singer, and is preparing to cup his ear in the approved manner before embarking on 43 unaccompanied verses of The Bonnie Wee Maiden I Dismembered On The Banks Of The Auld Loch, The Noo.

    His rings look like knuckledusters.

  6. Is it a signal like tapping the side of one's nose? I think he means to say 'You ain't seen me, right?'

  7. He's seeing if both earrings are still in.

  8. They've photoshopped out the mobile phone.
    It's illegal to use one when appearing on a poster in a major railway station.

  9. Jimmy - How can you say that about Europe's most beautiful city? I do love the Golden Mile.

    Chris - Ha! I think you've got it. Except you've got to guess the author's surname. What's the next action? I wonder what rhymes with Rankin?

    Vicus - Jack Jones didn't know what hit him in that episode.

    Tim - Wasn't Rankin in a punk band? From punk to folk. He's the Scottish Shane MacGowan!

    Annie - "This week I have been mostly eating pigs ears."

    Boz - As a celebrity author, one has to look at one's best.

    Kaz - He's onto his agent asking who's bloody idea was this?

  10. Up town? Top Rankin!

  11. That was the title I thought of after I'd posted.

    "Ten four, Rankin. Roger, over and out."

  12. He is trying to look sexy yet intelligent and I have to say for me it works, but I always was a sucker for a Scotsman.

  13. Anonymous4:25 PM

    I can remember the days when there weren't any publicity shots of Ian Rankin. I had no idea what he looked like, didn't care and enjoyed his books (though not in a stand on the chair and cheer sort of way). In a few years, however, I have become familiar with his mole, annoyed with the fact he lives in France, and less entertained by his books.

    The creeping madness, egomania, of an author can be mapped by their book cover photograph. A good example is Patricia Cornwell who started off looking like a mid-career academic in the Wimmin's Studies dept. of a southern U.S college. I knew something was up when she began to appear next to her very own helicopter dressed in a WW2 flying jacket. These days she comes posed next to the Victorian mantlepiece of a gentleman's library dressed in a white three piece suit, and spends her spare time buying and destroying works of art in order to write books about the 'true identity' of Jack the Ripper. Silly cow.

    It would appear I've left an entire post in your comments box. Sorry about that. No photo included.

  14. Realdoc - He could look more sexily intelligent by wearing a pair of glasses. They'd have to be the right sort of glasses, though. Not the Timmy Mallett type.

    Arabella - If a comment's good then it's never too long. I always thought the Stephen King shots were scarier than the books. The same with James Herbert.