More from Ian Rankin on Possible J.K. Rowling Mystery Novel

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Aug 20, 2007

Posted by SueTLC
Uncategorized

A follow up for you today on the rumor that author J.K. Rowling is currently writing a mystery novel. While reps for Jo are quoted in a new article in The Times as saying “we do not have a definite plan of what her next project is yet’ there is more from author Ian Rankin and now noted mystery author P.D.James has weighed in on this matter. UPDATE: The Guardian is now reporting that Mr. Rankin is calling this “a joke that got out of hand,” said Rankin, describing how the remark was made on stage during the course of a festival event. There were 600 people in the audience, and only one person didn’t laugh,” he added.. Emma Schlesinger, speaking for Rowling’s literary agent, Christopher Little, was keen to stress that the crime novel rumours were “unfounded”.”JK Rowling is taking a well-earned break following the English language publication of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows and there are no firm plans as yet as to what her next book may be,” she said.

Readers will remember that it was comments first from Ian Rankin, who is a long time neighbor of JKR in Edinburgh, Scotland, which spurred this latest flurry of rumors on the prospect of a forthcoming mystery novel. Over the weekend Ian Rankin said

“My wife spotted her writing her Edinburgh criminal detective novel’ he said. He declined to elaborate on how he knew about Rowling’s new direction, but conceded he had not discussed it personally with her. He added: “It is great that she has not abandoned writing or Edinburgh cafes.”

Today Mr. Rankin is cited in the Times article as saying more about Jo’s writing style, noting “Her process is classic crime writing – the set-up, the red herrings, the characters who change as they are revealed, the twists and turns, and finally the big lineup at the end.”

Author P.D. James is also very complimentary about Jo, saying her skills as a writer would work well in the mystery genre.

PD James, 87, creator of the Adam Dalgleish mysteries, said she saw no reason why Rowling should not become a successful crime writer. “She certainly has all the skills’ James said. “She is immensely popular with adults and children. She has done a great service to literature by encouraging children to read on that scale. It is a huge achievement to get children queuing for books in the numbers they do.”

While this is all very exciting, please keep this very much in the rumor category for now.





39 Responses to More from Ian Rankin on Possible J.K. Rowling Mystery Novel

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Ya know, this guy sure knows a lot about a book that has more or less just been started, which he admits he has not discussed with Jo or read in any way shape or form. I wonder when he will start giving hints about the ending, can we say attention getter.

John B.

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Would be nice if it were true. Books 1-4 (especially 3 and 4) functioned very well as mystery novels; I would be happy to see Rowling do a standard (or not-so-standard) whodunnit.

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Keep those rumors rolling in! I wonder if Snape will come back as a detective? :-)

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John B

You might want to read up on Rankin before you dismiss him as doing this merely as an “attention-getter”.

Rankin is one of the most skilled and honored mystery writers out there. His Inspector Rebus books have sold in the millions and been adapted for TV. He doesn’t need to seek attention for himself.

In mystery circles, he is a superstar, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if at some point they have discussed a mystery book in gerenal terms.

Most of what is said here, is that JKR has all the skills needed to write a cracking mystery. If it’s true – I look forward to it.

Avatar Image says:

This is horrible. I mean seriously her most original idea? All these characters mentioned are taken off someone from Harry Potter. Huggard… comeone Rowling, drop the mystery novel and do some sequels for Harry Potter.

Avatar Image says:

Sorry for the post again but I just noticed what John B said.

Book 1 wasn’t a mystery novel IMO in most Potter books the plot is a gentle curve not a straight line then a sharp turn off a cliff. For older readers, (people who read adult novels, not going into specifics) would see what happened in these books 400pages before it happens. Imo Books 6 and 7 were the most unpredictable books of the series.

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I don’t believe that this is true…i sense some kind of wit in Mr. Rankin’s quote…i thought i read that he writes mystery novels? correct me if i’m wrong, but it seems like he WAS just joking in accordance to his genre. Being a mystery writer, he wouldn’t joke about JKR doing a sci fi novel if this was indeed a joke. I just think that he sincerely WAS joking. but if not, i’m excited for ANYTHING that Jo decides to write!!

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I’ve always said JKR would do well in mystery writing, and something historical. Perhaps an 18th-century French naturalist…or is that too much like Sherlock Holmes in a powdered wig? ;-)

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I would love if Jo started writing crime novels but I won’t believe it until Jo herself says so!

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I think this guy just needs to shut up. Who care if he’s a “celebrated mystery writer.” He should respect Jo enough to let her be the one to announce her next book’s subject. I doubt Jo asked Rankin to announce it.

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No matter what JKR choses to write about for her next book – I WILL BE A BUYER!!!

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It sounds to me like it was a joke. He is a mystery writer, so he would love to see Jo write a mystery or crime novel. Thus he makes a humorous statement about how her next novel is clearly a crime novel. Look at the context of the comment—he said it on stage, and people responded with laughter. To me this says it was meant as a JOKE, not even in the realm of rumor. Personally, I would love to see a mystery written by Jo, but that’s kind of beside the point.

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Corey: I’m not one for figuring out mysteries way ahead of time, never have been. I have missed on every single Christie (dozens) I have ever read…call me a bad reader.

I still say PoA and GoF are very good mystery novels. And I’ve read, you know, a few adult novels.

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I retract my comment from the last report. THis is bull. I doubt it. Perhaps his wife lied? There definitely successful people out there who would try and get attention. Trump sure didn’t need a television show.

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If it is true then, AWSOME!!! If it isn’t then its no loss. Whatever she ends up writing next i’ll be in my nearest bookshop, quicker then you can say harry potter! lol!

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I think he said it was a joke so people you need to get over yourselves

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yes we should keep this in the rumour category. although jo would be an amazing crime novel writer but as she said in many interviews for harry potter that she will be taking a break for a while and then return to writting. Rakins wife couldve seen jo write anything it couldve been a letter to a friend or fan – to the encyclopedia tweaking her notes a bit.. who knows. its brilliant that harry potter has gotten soo many kids into reading including daniel radcliffe himself. i think that since the trio is soo majorly popular world wide that if someone were to take on a role from a book than the fans from them weould follow their career and reasearch their rolls. just like emma watson in the up comming movie ballet shoes ( a book series ). which will probably hit a growthsperg due to emma watson being the lead role.

Avatar Image says:

So it was a joke? Odd… I don’t see anything particularly funny about the idea of Jo writing a crime novel, I actually think she would be brilliant. Buuuuut, okay. Glad to know this was a load of bull.

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I just got a mental image of a book, sitting on a shelf in a book shop, bearing the name “J.K. Rowling,” but not a Harry Potter book. I know it doesn’t sound that earth shattering, but the image was just so clear in my mind, and it makes me both excited and a little sad.

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Corey… where did you read that? I don’t know where to look… thanks!

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As for JKR writing now, in the post DH/Today interviews, she said she was doing what she did before HP rocked her world-working on two stories at a time, until it was clear that one story was more interesting to her to continue. JKR did say that she was writing, just something new/not HP, and without a deadline or a need. Even when writers say they’re on vacation, they’ll still write, just like businesspeople can’t put away their blackberry/crackberry. It’s a habit; it’s what they do; it’s who they are. But not all writing is for publishing, or to contract. Right now it’s just for fun! Maybe she’s writing nonsense poems for her kids-sounds like a great idea for a late-summer lark!

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Dang it! Can’t they get these double-dashes to work properly? :-(

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Stupid joke… Another attempt to lure HP fans into something that doesn’t exist! :(

Avatar Image says:

Ian Rankin and JK Rowling live in the same neighbourhood in Edinburgh. Some time ago, (years ago) on a BBC radio programme, he said that at dinner not long before they had speculated on what it would be like to switch genres with each other. He – jokingly – said she could write a crime novel as long as she didn’t cross his path too closely. (I’ve not remembered the exact words) He follows the activities of a police detective, Inspector Rebus, in Edinburgh, bringing in lesser known (and darker) aspects of Edinburgh. Hence the comment in Edinburgh seems to follow on – just light-hearted fun between people who know each other well. I really like the Rebus novels; I really like the Harry Potter novels. One aspect of Harry Potter has been just what PD James suggests, the laying of careful clues, (often staring you in the face, but not recognised till the end), and brilliantly, doing this over a 7 book story that kept us guessing till the end. (There’s more to the stories, but this concerns me here) So if she wants to do it, I think JKR has all the skills to write a crime story – and I think Rankin is intruigued by the thought that this is a direction she might take.

Avatar Image says:

I can confirm Brigg’s comments here. I asked Ian Rankin a question about the fact that JKR paid 10,000 pounds for a tour of Rebus’s Edinburgh. She never bothered to take that tour, he said. He did, however, mention that he lived down the street from her and had jokingly said to her that when she finished with Potter, he hoped SHE WOULD NOT write a mystery story ABOUT SCOTLAND, as he noted that she had all the skills of a mystery writer, but he didn’t want her tramping on his territory. Three writers all live on the same street: Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin, and JK Rowling. IMO they are all top notch writers worth of all of us to read.

Avatar Image says:

So he says it was a joke, but gave an interview that said she would make a good Mystery writer. What gives?

I had a good feeling this was a joke.

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I aggree with P. D. James, she would be a good writer of detective stories. And Yes, book five and six are good examples of her capacity to surprise us. If she does go that way, I will most certainly buy the first one, to see for myself if she is as good as I think she can be.

Go ahead Jo! Surprise us. We deserve it.

Avatar Image says:

well…It’s good that’s she’s taking a break…but i still can’t wait fo her knew books to come out!!!!!!!!!

Avatar Image says:

Is it just a coincidence that Rankin makes a comment that is so widely publicised (because its about JK) at a time when he announces the title to his new book? I think not

;)

Avatar Image says:

briggs and diana patterson had rly good posts. i agree w ‘em.

Avatar Image says:

A JOKE. Given the context, it was fairly obvious. Not everyone is always going to get the joke, and not everyone is always going to appreciate the joke (a throwaway, really, not like he was up all night writing a killer punch line!), but really, folks, use some Skele-Gro and grow a funny bone.

What concerns me more is all of these writers saying that she has all the skills to be a crime writer, as if this were the loftiest genre to which she could aspire. I don’t want to bash the genre. I’ve read some good and some popular mysteries (the two do not always coincide!). I just think Jo has MUCH more to offer the future of literature than a few volumes on the mystery shelf of the local library. Whatever she decides to write, I’ll be devouring it eagerly.

Avatar Image says:

PotterCast 114, where is it ?

Avatar Image says:

The person just wanted to see a flood of tourist show up to all the cafes or coffee shops looking for JKR writing. It would improve the economy and see if Rita Skeeter still had her following.

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Sounds very interesting, but I’m only going to believe it when Jo says so herself. ;)

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I wish she would. She is a shoe in for a great mystery read. I’d be much more apt to read that than something else.

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Just a note, I know who Rankin is, I read the article didn’t {really I read both of them and the got the point a crossed just fine} and it does not change my mind. Even if this was a joke, it is not funny. All he managed to do is get a ton of people dogging Jo asking if it is true or false and whatnot else. I tend to go with the guy who figured out that Rankin put that out right about the time he put out the title of his new book, so that the press would be paying attention to him aka pining for attention.

John B.

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First of all, I think it’d be great if Rowling did write a crime/mystery—she is good at that sort of thing.

But I think Rankin is right—it’s a joke that took on a life of its own. Probably the one person in the audience who didn’t laugh, no doubt. Or the people who were later told the joke and took it seriously and ran to some reporter.

What it really shows is that the reporters need to do a better job of checking out their stories. If Rowling’s publicists weren’t giving out any information, then it seems logical to me that they should have tried, as the Guardian did, to interview the source of the rumor. The failure on the part of The Times is really the cause of the problem. Had they written the same story as the Guardian, I doubt that any other news media would have bothered much with it.

When it made our local news, I said to my husband that I’d believe it when Jo posts it on her own site. Otherwise, I’m not going to bite.

And I don’t see it as a publicity stunt by Rankin. As others have said, people who read his books likely already knew he had a new one coming out. After all, Stephen King wrote a whole article just about Deathly Hallows (very interesting, btw), and no one is accusing him of trying to ride on Jo’s coat tails.

Pat

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Whatever she’s writing now, it’s spot on to describe her storytelling as “classic crime writing”.

I love that style of story and it’s a large part of my love of the HP series. I’ve never enjoyed fantasy novels, which are so cloying in comparison to the clean classic crime genre of which PD James is one of my favorites.

Avatar Image says:

PS – I guess I’ll have to check out Rankin now! I’ve been to Edinburgh a few times and could easily see it as a setting for detective genre.

PPS – If Jo does write a crime series, she could also use a pen name, which is quite common in that genre. Heck! One could say that “JK Rowling” is a pen name!

PPPS – Really, I recommend to those of you, who think the suggestion that Jo write a crime novel is a put-down, read PD James’ Adam Dalgliesh series. They’re brilliant.

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