Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin is the textbook definition of a best-selling novelist. Or so feel the editors of The Guinness Book of World Records, who plan to include him in their next edition. When Dead Souls, which was just released in Canada, appeared on London best-seller lists last winter, it triggered a burst of interest back in Scotland. So many Scots snapped up Rankins previous novels that his books took over a record eight of 10 spots on the Scottish National Best-Seller List (it counts new and old releases alike).
Rankins gritty thrillers are popular abroad for their labyrinthine plots and his pugnacious lead character, Edinburgh Det. Insp. John Rebus. But at home, Rankin says, readers delight in seeing a realistic portrait of modern Scotland. “I wanted to deconstruct the Brigadoon image, to show Edinburgh as a living, breathing city, not a collection of monuments,” the 39-year-old writer says of his home town, where he lives with his wife, Miranda, and two young sons. To that end, Rebus is based in a real Edinburgh police station, drinks in real pubs and visits real neighbourhoods.
While touring Canada, Rankin has noticed a parallel with Scotland: two low-powered countries that simultaneously resent the influence, and seek the approval, of stronger nations to their south. One connection is in the matter of self-identification. “Ask a Canadian what a Canadian is and you’ll get, ‘Well, we’re different from Americans,’ ” says Rankin. “Ask a Scot the same thing and he’ll say, ‘We’re no’ English.’ ”
Rankin: 7 wanted to deconstruct the Brigadoon image’
All in the family
Hollywood’s list of famous siblings —the Arquettes and the Baldwins to name a couple—better make room for a Canadian brood: the Campbells. Neve, 25, has already found fame through her role in the popular television drama Party of Five, and in films such as 54 and Wild Things. But now the spodight is moving to her older brother, Christian, 27, who stars in the upcoming feature film Trick, with Tori Spelling. The movie was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival in March, making him the latest “It” boy in Hollywood.
Christian and Neve—and younger brothers Damian and Alex—were
raised by theatrical parents in Guelph, Ont. Their mother, Marnie Neve, ran a dinner theatre, while their father, Gerry Campbell, directed a community theatre. Involved in both since he was young, Christian was a well-seasoned actor when he entered Toronto’s Ryerson Polytechnic University Theatre
School at age 19, but he dropped out after the first year. “I didn’t really get the chance” he says with a smile, “to be moulded into a Canadian thesp.” Campbell moved to Los Angeles in 1995, and landed small roles in TV series and movies of the week. His love for the stage didn’t dissipate, though, and in 1997, he founded a theatre company called Blue Sphere Alliance.
In Trick, Campbell plays a gay writer looking for love. The straight actor expects some viewers to assume he’s gay, but he isn’t worried. “Where are the priorities,” he says, “when it’s better to play a murderer than it is a loving person?” Maybe he should pose the question to his sister, who not only starred in the slasher film Scream, but also its sequel.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.