Rankin lists Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time, a multi-novel series which paints a panorama of English society, as his favourite novel. In twelve volumes published over a twenty-five-year period, Powell chronicled the changing fortunes of Britain's upper class from 1914 to the 1960s. Rankin began to see how he could explore not just a single character in depth, but also a place and, like Powell did, an entire society. "Everything I wanted to say about Scotland," he realized, "I could say in a crime novel."
From David Geherin, Scene of the Crime: The Importance of Place in Crime and Mystery Fiction (2008).