Rankin's A Song for the Dark Times hits the high note in top spot

Rankin's A Song for the Dark Times hits the high note in top spot

Ian Rankin's A Song for the Dark Times (Orion) has clearly struck a chord with the book-buying public, reaching a crescendo in its first full week on sale and hitting the UK Official Top 50 number one spot.

It sold 21,929 copies in its second week in the chart, leapfrogging not only the previous week's overall number one, Kate Garraway's The Power of Hope (Bantam), but also claiming the Mass Market Fiction number one from Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet (Tinder Press).

This is Rankin's ninth overall pole in the chart since Resurrection Men (Orion) in October 2002 and his 14th week in the Mass Market Fiction top spot. A Song for the Dark Times also hit the Original Fiction number one in hardback in October 2020, making it his second title in a row to claim both fiction top spots, after 2018's In a House of Lies (Orion).

Dawn French's Because of You (Penguin) leapt into second place, followed closely by Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light (Fourth Estate) in fourth and Douglas Stuart's Shuggie Bain (Picador) in fifth. In Mass-Market Fiction, Graham Norton's Home Stretch (Coronet) debuted in 13th place, with Anthony Horowitz's Moonflower Murders (Arrow) and Stuart Turton's The Devil and the Dark Water (Raven) entering the chart in 15th and 19th respectively.

Kate Garraway's The Power of Hope (Bantam) held the Hardback Non-Fiction number one for a second week, as chart stalwarts Charlie Mackesy's The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse (Ebury) and the Pinch of Nom series (Bluebird) boomeranging back up the top 20. Holly Tucker's Do What You Love, Love What You Do (Virgin) was the highest charting new entry.

Richard Osman's The Thursday Murder Club (Viking) reigned atop the Original Fiction chart for a 29th week in total, matching the record set by Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train (Doubleday) across 2015 and early 2016. Can the cosy crime phenomenon go one more week at the top to achieve 30, or will its own paperback release affect its chances? 

The Official Highway Code (TSO) claimed a third consecutive week atop the Paperback Non-Fiction top 20, its longest consecutive run in the category chart top spot, as driving tests resumed across the UK. 

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's Cat's Cookbook (Macmillan Children's) dug its claws into the Children's top spot for a second week.

Adam Silvera's TikTok-boosted They Both Die at the End (S&S Children's), which has notched up several weeks in the Children's and YA Fiction top five, leapfrogged Dav Pilkey's Mothering Heights (Scholastic) to hit number one. YA Book Prize-winner Alice Oseman's Heartstopper: Volume 4 (Hodder Children's) beat a path to third in the kids' chart and 39th in the overall Top 50. 

The print market had another healthy week at 3.6 million books sold for £30m. Though this was a drop of 3.3% in volume and 4.2% in value week on week, print was still considerably up on pre-pandemic spring 2019, with a 12.8% boost in volume and a 10% improvement in value on the equivalent week.

In the Amazon charts, Karin Slaughter's The Silent Wife (HarperCollins) rocketed to the top of the Most-Sold: Fiction chart.