But for now, Rankin is firmly in the present, having just finished the first draft of his final Rebus novel. So is this the last for Inspector Rebus?
"Yes. Well, no. Well, yes. It's the last novel of him as a serving police officer," he teases.
"It would have been horrible to have killed him off. I've lived with this guy for 20 years and it would be an injustice too far - he's been beaten up, he's lost friends and family. I spoke to Colin Dexter and asked him why he killed off Morse, which was because he was bored of writing the books.
"I'm not saying this is the final Rebus book, but he does retire at the end of this book. Siobhan could take over and Rebus could continue privately, but, to be honest, I've not really thought about it. I wasn't tired of him but I'd got myself in the situation where he lived in real time. I suddenly couldn't not make him age."
Rankin's publishers have also signed him up to write two new books, but he's adamant he's taking a long overdue rest in 2008.
"I've published around 24 books in 20-odd years, sometimes two a year. I just need a break, to recharge the batteries."
But for Rankin fans, there will be a novel published in 2008. "In January, I wrote a novella about a heist in Edinburgh for the New York Times - I wanted to call it Ocean's Terminal 11 - but they didn't see the joke. It was great fun - a new character, lighter crime. Luckily this novella can be published in the UK next year so I'll flesh it out and publish it then."
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