Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Ian Rankin meets gruesome twosome

Ian Rankin views the Burke and Hare masks
Ian Rankin has come face-to-face with one of history's most evil double acts

Crime author Ian Rankin has come face-to-face with one of history's most evil double acts while opening a new museum in Fife.

Masks of 19th Century killers Burke and Hare, who sold their victims' bodies to medical research, are on show at the Museum of the University of St Andrews.

They killed more than a dozen people in Edinburgh, where Rankin's multi-million selling Rebus series of novels is set.

Burke was hanged aged 37 in 1829 after Hare testified against him in court.

The plaster mask of Burke is dated the same year, while the Hare mask is a copy of the original bought in 2001 by the university.

Other artefacts on display include an oil painting by renowned Scottish Colourist Samuel Peploe, and a set of silver archery medals won by students between 1618 and the 1750s.

Fife-born Rankin is an honorary graduate of St Andrews University, Scotland's oldest university.

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