In fact, I've been reading a great deal more than writing. Partly for pleasure, but also - in the early hours - as a means of driving out of my head a series of hypothetical conversations with my current nemesis.
One of the books I have read during this period is The Complaints by Ian Rankin. It's the first I have read by him which does not feature John Rebus.
It's a truism that the real protagonist of the Rebus novels, especially the later ones, is not actually Rebus but the city of Edinburgh. I love a sense of place in my detective fiction and feel that I know Edinburgh like the proverbial back of my hand simply through the novels. In the same way, I have navigated around Venice with Donna Leon's Brunelli, Paris with Cara Black's Aimee Leduc and Leo Malet's Nestor Burma, and Boston with Robert B Parker's Spenser. One day, I will probably do New York with Bloch's Scudder, LA with Connelly's Harry Bosch and Ystad with Mankell's Wallender.
The thing about The Complaints, however, is that there is very little about Edinburgh. The protagonist, Malcolm Fox, operates out of the same office building as did Rebus but, apart from the odd, spiteful reference to roadworks, the story could really be transplanted to almost anywhere. And Fox himself is not a product of Edinburgh in the way that Rebus so clearly is.
These are not criticisms; merely observations. In fact, I enjoyed Fox and the 'quis custodiet ipsos custodes' plot more than any of the last dozen or so Rebus novels. And maybe it is because, without the Rough Guide to Edinburgh element, the emphasis is more precisely focused on character and plot.
I commend it to you.
Today's listening: Glenn Gould, Bach's Goldberg Variations. The 1981 recording. Simultaneously calming and energising.