REBUS creator Ian Rankin has hinted the gruff detective may go on solving crimes even after he retires.
In his next novel, the Edinburgh-based sleuth is due to hit 60 - the mandatory retirement age for police.
However, that may not be the end of the story for the hard-drinking, tough-talking super sleuth.
Mr Rankin told an audience at the literary Hay Festival in Wales that the character could return after the next novel due out in September.
"There is every possibility that Rebus could be brought back to investigate cases that have not been cleared up," he said.
"I don't get the sense yet that the Rebus books are running out of steam."
The author, who also writes other books under the name Jack Harvey, also revealed he did not watch the Rebus stories recently adapted for television, starring Ken Stott, because he did not want the characters' voices on screen to interfere with the characters' voices in his head.
The books are set in Edinburgh and have made pubs like the Oxford Bar, where Rebus drinks, popular with tourists.
Mr Rankin said the city had changed over the two decades since his character first appeared. "Edinburgh is again buzzing culturally and a lot of it is down to having the parliament there and a new sense of self-confidence."
Rebus's 20 years in the Capital are being celebrated at a major exhibition at The Writer's Museum, off the Royal Mile.