It is an inauspicious-looking place, the Oxford Bar, in Edinburgh’s New Town. It sits on a cobbled side street, its plain white façade and cast iron sign vaguely imposing. Inside, it’s the kind of pub where, almost a decade on from Britain’s smoking ban, there remains a metaphorical fug.

Yet several times a week visitors from across the US arrive here with cameras and questions.

"Some don’t even have a drink," sighs landlord Harry Cullen. "They take their pictures and leave."

These are among the global fans of Detective Inspector John Rebus, the fictional copper who, over 20 novels, has been cracking crime amid the real streets, pubs and tourist hubs of the Scottish capital. The devoted come here, to the Ox, where their man washes away his nights, in the same way lovers of Sherlock Holmes make the pilgrimage to 221b Baker Street.

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