Mike Mackenzie is a software entrepreneur who has sold his company for a substantial amount of money, but is now bored and looking for a new thrill. His new-found wealth has funded a genuine interest in art so when his friend Professor Robert Gissing presents him with a plan for the perfect crime, he willingly helps set that plan in motion.
With a vast collection but limited wall space, the National Gallery (on the TV adaptation, a Scottish bank) has many more valuable works of art in storage than it could ever display. The plan is to stage a heist at the Granton storage depot on "Doors Open Day" during which a selected group of paintings will be "stolen". The gang will then give the appearance of having panicked and fled without the works of art, but will have switched the real paintings with high quality forgeries good enough to convince anyone investigating the matter that no theft has been committed.
As they begin to flesh out the plan, it becomes clear that they need some "professional assistance" and a chance encounter with Chib Calloway, a local gangster who Mike went to school with, fulfils that need.
A television film of the book has been produced, starring Douglas Henshall as Mike Mackenzie, Ken Collard as Allan Cruickshank and Stephen Fry as Robert Gissing. Filming started in Edinburgh in April 2012, and the programme was aired on Boxing Day on ITV.
Rankin's 2002 collection of short stories, Beggars Banquet, includes a story "Herbert in Motion" (originally published 1996, 1997) whose plot is also concerned with the theft of undisplayed works of art from the storage facilities of a major gallery (the Tate Gallery) by a curator, and their replacement with high quality forgeries to mask the crime.
- Naughton, Philippe (5 October 2008). "Doors Open by Ian Rankin". The Times. London. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
- Nolan, Tom (5 March 2010). "'Doors Open,' by Ian Rankin". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
- "Doors Open at IMDb"
- Dex, Robert (12 April 2012). "Stephen Fry cast in TV film of Ian Rankin's 'Doors Open' novel". The Independent. London.