This tour is absolutely one of the best literary walking tours Edinburgh has to offer. It was not only informative about the Rebus novels, but also about the history of Edinburgh. What really made the tour so enjoyable and wonderfully entertaining, however, was guide Colin Brown. He is clearly passionate about the tour, bringing to it his own sense of humour and wide knowledge of all things Rebus and Edinburgh related. He kept the whole group – of around 25 people, impressive – entertained and interested for the entire two hour tour. Not only did he share his extensive knowledge with flair and good humour, but he also encouraged his audience to share their own opinions and information with the group. It was a thoroughly interactive experience; Colin’s manner of tour was so laid back and informal that it made everyone feel quite comfortable and able to ask any question that came to mind.
The amount of ground covered over the tour was just right too. The group was not marched through half the city (thankfully), but instead focused on those areas most relevant to the Rebus novels. From pubs to a mortuary, from cafes to police stations, Colin lead his audience to all the most important sites from the novels, and delighted Rebus enthusiasts - around 98% of the group - with his astounding understanding of and breadth of knowledge about Rebus’ world.
There were a number of short readings throughout the tour - once again, mainly taken from the Rebus novels, but with some Rankin quotes thrown in to give the tour variety of authorial perspective. Having the Rebus excerpts read in their setting brought a sense of reality to the novels - something quite unusual to experience with fiction - as Colin managed to bring the readings to life with skill. He made sure, throughout each reading, that every member of the group was in a position where they could hear, and he read clearly and passionately. I was particularly fond of his impersonation of Siobhan Clarke.
Fans of Rebus and fans of Edinburgh should both go on this tour (Edinburgh fans, if you haven’t yet read a Rebus novel, you will after this). And maybe buy Colin a drink afterwards, for being such a memorable and knowledgeable tour guide.