‘Am I part of the problem by writing about police as though they are the good guys?’ – Ian Rankin

Bestselling crime novelist Ian Rankin discusses police corruption, why Britain is becoming a ‘basket case’ and the real-life confrontation on the streets of Edinburgh that inspired a key scene in his 24th Rebus novel

Crime novelist Ian Rankin: ‘Most of the cops I meet and that I’m told about are good, idealistic people who want to make a difference to the world.’ Picture: Fergal Phillips

There’s a pivotal scene in A Heart Full of Headstones, Ian Rankin’s latest novel, where a lone police officer is faced with a dangerous, knife-wielding suspect who has been threatening to “cut” members of the public in Edinburgh city centre.

When he eventually tackles the man to the ground, the officer pushes “the length of his baton hard against the exposed neck, holding it in place with his knee” – a description that’s eerily reminiscent ...