Crime author Ian Rankin revealed he may write a historical novel about rogue detective John Rebus’ younger days.
Rankin, 60, had his 24th novel in the series, A Song for The Dark Times, published in October.
But with his main character approaching his 70th birthday and health and mobility problems, Rankin is considering either shelving him or taking him back to the 70s or 80s.
Rankin said he was open to another writer taking on the character after his own death.
He said: “Now he is retired, he is old, he’s got health problems, he can’t climb stairs.
“There is only so much I can do with him now.
“He’s got inbuilt decrepitude so I don’t know how many more books I can realistically write.
“I guess I wouldn’t be bothered that much because I wouldn’t be around to have any say.
“Maybe it’s inevitable, as these days if you have a good saleable character or a brand, they can live long past the death of their creator.
“I’ve always thought maybe someone could come along and do a young Rebus, like young Morse in ‘Endeavour’.
“I’ve thought about doing it myself, but that would be Rebus in the 1970s and ’80s, which means a historical novel, and I used to think that would be too much work.”
He said his new novel The Dark Remains, the completion of a book by William McIlvanney, may have “whetted my appetite for doing a young Rebus”, in an interview with The Bookseller.
Rankin added: “I’ve enjoyed the ageing process.
“He’s not the same guy as I was writing about five years ago, so that makes it fresh, keeps me on my toes.
“I always say it and I’m going to say it again, I can only see one more Rebus book.
“I can never see further ahead than one book and I might have said it was the last Rebus seven or eight times in the past.
“But every time I’ve said that something has come along that has suggested itself as a theme or a story where he is the ideal character.
“So it seems he always has that wee bit of life left and he just refuses to leave the building.”