Last Thursday I sat in my back bedroom listening to the arts programme Front Row on Radio 4, it was a displacement activity on my part designed to avoid writing the 3000 word essay I should have been working on.

One of the guests was Ian Rankin; they were interviewing him about the last of his Rebus novels which is due out in September. It’s called Exit Music, a good title, but a crying shame that we are to see no more of one of the distinctive characters of the past decade.

I have to say it takes considerable confidence in your talents to create a series character that is so successful and allow him to age like a normal human being with the potential that one day he will either die or retire and take up playing golf.

Given the insecurity most writers are heir to its hardly surprising they tend to create characters who are born aged fifty and never grow any older, either that or, if they get tired of their hero, push him or her over a waterfall with the hope that if the public outcry, and the cheque from their publisher is large enough, they can bring him back to life again.

Now that Rankin has decided to pension off Rebus you have to wonder just which mixed up fictional cop is going to take his place, my money would be on Mark Billingham’s Tom Thorn novels.

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