When I was given a press pass to the inaugural Capital Crime festival this year I couldn’t believe my luck. I cannot thank the lovely folk at Midas PR enough.
I’ve already blogged about how Capital Crime, the brainchild of Adam Hamdy and David Headley, came about in a post you can read here, so today I’d like to say an enormous thank you to everyone who planned, participated in and helped run a fantastic couple of days. My only complaint is that I really needed to be cloned and in two places at once because the choice of panels was so stunning. For those who were not able to attend I thought I’d just illustrate the panels I attended and link to some of the authors who have appeared on the blog before by way of a small thank you.
Friday 27th September
Other commitments meant I wasn’t able to attend the launch night on Thursday where Ashley Harrison won the DHH Literary Agency New Voices Award, but 5.45 on Friday morning saw me leaping out of bed in order to get an early train to London. I certainly needed a cup of tea provided by Capital Crime partner Pan Macmillan when I arrived at The Grand Connaught Rooms. In fact I needed several cups all day!
Having picked up my badge and goody bag, my first task was to decide how to spend Friday at Capital Crime. You’ll see from the programme, it was difficult to decide:
One of the delights of the day was catching up with, and meeting new, bloggers and authors, but it was the panels that were so entertaining.
I first chose to go to The Influence of Agatha Christie, partly because Sophie Hannah attended my own local Deepings Literary Festival but I couldn’t attend that session because I was interviewing Elly Griffiths at the time!
I began making notes for this panel, fully intending to write them up for each session I attended, but I got so engrossed in the discussions I decided simply to enjoy the panels. You’ll just have to take my word for it that they were entertaining, interesting, enlightening and, very often, revealing!
You’ll find my review of Sophie’s Agatha Christie book The Monogram Murders here. One of Christopher Fowler’s stories appears in Invisible Blood, a short story collection I reviewed here. There’s also a review of one of Ruth Ware’s book, In a Dark, Dark Wood here.
Panel two for me was Crime on a Global Scale. Having met Vaseem Khan on a previous occasion and knowing he’d be brilliant I was not at all surprised when he introduced himself as Justin Troudeau! I still have Vaseem’s The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra on my TBR (I will get to is soon I promise!).
Despite the gravity of the title for this panel, it was extremely funny and the audience had a real treat. It was an enormous pleasure to me to meet Abir Mukherjee afterwards too as my U3A reading group so enjoyed his A Rising Man and you’ll find my review here.
You can also read an interview I did with David Hewson when Juliet and Romeo was published here, along with my review.
After that I hotfooted it to find out if we really are living in a spy thriller, partly because I haven’t read any of the authors yet, although I was delighted to come away from Capital Crime with a copy of Adam Hamdy’s Black 13 in my goody bag. Black 13 will be released on 23rd January 2020 and is available through Pan Macmillan’s links here.
This was a fascinating panel and it really does seem as if truth is stranger than fiction in the world of espionage!
The next session found me hearing about The Truth in Pieces because every one of the authors is on my TBR awaiting reading.
This panel members were witty, honest and entertaining. If I tell you that Belinda Bauer heard the news about her publishing deal as she was collecting pony manure from the field you’ll get an idea of the human and honest comments from the panel!
With a quick stop for lunch it was off to see Adam Hamdy interview the amazing Anthony Horowitz. In another life and many moons ago I had the privilege of writing teacher resources for Hodder for Anthony’s children’s book Raven’s Gate so it was a thrill to meet him and to suggest he might like to attend the Deepings Literary Festival in 2021!
More recently, I reviewed Anthony’s Sherlock Holmes story The House of Silk in a post you can read here. Anthony was so interesting, especially when illustrating how his Mr Robinson story went from idea to completion for the London Underground vending machine earlier this year. Hearing him read us that story too was a delight.
I have a confession here – which seems appropriate for a crime festival – I’ve never read Martina Cole. I have several of her books on my shelves, but hearing her speak with such passion and wit I have decided I need to rectify that matter immediately. Her determination to support other writers and those less fortunate in society was incredibly uplifting.
Similar themes were discussed in the next panel called The Human Cost of Crime.
Perfectly interviewed by Chi Chi Izundu, both Ian Rankin and Don Winslow were fantastic guests who spoke with enthusiasm and intelligence about their writing and society. I thought this session was sensational.
I so wanted to listen to Lynda La Plante, but as I’ve read so many of my next panel I simply had to hear them speak. Their books are fantastic and this was a lively and entertaining look at feminism as they asked the question Is Crime Fiction A Problem For Feminists?
Although Julie’s Her Husband’s Lover is still awaiting reading, you’ll find my review of Sarah Hilary’s No Other Darkness was one of the first ever posts on Linda’s Book Bag here. I was also delighted to host a fascinating guest post from Sarah about The Secret Life of a Crime Writer here.
One of the books that will be appearing on my 2019 books of the year is Amanda Jennings’ The Cliff House and you can find my review here.
Next up was Torn From History. I’m a huge fan of Anna Mazola and you’ll find my review of her book The Story Keeper here. Anna presided over a truly spellbinding panel and I was amazed to hear the background to Simon Mayo’s latest book Mad Blood Stirring.
The final panel I was able to attend before dashing off to get my train back to Lincolnshire saw two of my favourite authors in conversation with Adam Hamdy. I haven’t yet watched Paula Daly’s Deep Water television series (although it is recorded) but I do have a review of Paula’s The Mistake I Made here and Clear My Name here.
My review of SJ Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep is here. You’ll have to forgive the quality of this review. It was my third ever blog post!
I found the insight into how a book becomes a film hugely enlightening and really loved this session.
Saturday 29th September
Saturday saw me up and back on the train for another packed day at Capital Crime.
My first event on Saturday morning was When Women Make Murderers which gave an interesting perspective on whether women write crime differently to men. With this devious panel I was quite relieved to escape the session alive!
Sadly, thus far I’ve only read CJ Tudor but having listened to these women speak I will be adding all their books to my TBR! You’ll find my review of CJ Tudor’s The Chalk Man here and The Taking of Annie Thorne here.
Knowing the brilliant Orenda Books’ Karen Sullivan well, I simply had to attend her session on Chilled to the Bone, although this meant I couldn’t go to the session with RC Brigstock who’ve featured on Linda’s Book Bag here. I did get to meet up with them briefly in the bar later!
Although perhaps not the intended outcome of this session, there was considerable talk about puffins which was entertaining and surprising! Again, I have each of the featured authors on my TBR and following this session, I can’t wait to read them.
The next panel, Beneath The Surface was with a selection of authors whose books I adore or am desperate to read.
I have spoken frequently about Elly Grifiths on Linda’s Book Bag having been delighted to interview her at the Deepings Literary Festival and meet her on several occasions and you’ll find the link to when she has appeared on the blog here, with reviews of The Crossing Places here, The Janus Stone here, Smoke and Mirrors here and more recently The Stone Circle here.
Fiona Barton’s The Widow is a fabulous book that I have reviewed here and I’m devastated I haven’t read had chance to read any more from her since my blog took off.
Although I have only had chance to read and review here a short story, The Scrapbook, by Erin Kelly I have her books on my TBR and loved her Broadchurch television series.
Louise Candlish’s Those People is currently looking at me from the pile next to my bed. When I went to the launch for that Those People I suggested to Louise that she attends our next Deepings Literary Festival so watch this space! I reviewed her simply fabulous Our House here.
With MW Craven’s The Puppet Show one of the best crime books I’ve read this year (see my review here) I had to attend the next session where every one of the speakers spoke with humour, passion and realism. For those who don’t know, Steph Marland is also Steph Broadribb.
I found their comments about a sense of place in their writing a real inspiration and was delighted to have a quick chat with Dreda Say Mitchell afterwards.
It seems to me that I only manage to catch up with the fabulous Ayo Onatade about once every 12 months at a bookish event so I was delighted to attend the panel she led discussing The Wrong Side Of The Law.
It’s far too long since I featured any of these authors on the blog, although you can read an guest post from Steve Cavanagh about a sense of place and character here from when The Defense was released and my review of Hariet Tyce’s Blood Orange here. Given all the panelists have worked in the law professions in some way, their insights were incisive but also incredibly funny. I particularly loved the anecdotes from their ‘other’ lives. What struck me most, however, was their level of compassion for the perpetrators of crime, providing a whole aspect to consider.
I next decided to hear about what it’s like In The Mind Of A Criminal.
It was disappointing that Rachel Abbott was unable to attend, but at least I’ve had the opportunity to ‘stay in’ with Rachel to discuss Come A Little Closer in a post you can read here. I’ve my review of Jenny Blackhurst’s Before I Let You in here, and of Mel Sharratt’s The Girls Next Door here. What struck me most about this session was Winnie M Li’s ability to speak about the rape she endured that led to her to write Dark Chapter.
I chose to attend High Octane Thrillers for the next session because it’s a genre I don’t often read and I thought it might be quite interesting. It wasn’t. It was completely compelling. The balance of human emotion to fast paced action that all the panelists spoke about left me desperate to read every word they’ve ever written. It’s time to broaden my reading habits I think!
The final panel I could attend before having to leave for my train was Changing Times.
Paul Burston’s The Closer I Get is, ironically given the title, edging to the top of my TBR. He’s now next to the bed! I’ve reviewed Mari Hannah’s The Insider here.
Coming from the white middle England spoken about so eloquently by this panel, I hadn’t fully appreciated the constraints of sexuality and race within publishing and found this session very enlightening.
It was with a rather heavy heart that I couldn’t stay for the rest of the Capital Crime festival but had to head off to get my train. It really was a stunning event, brilliantly and professionally organised, with excellent, well thought out and balanced panels. I really enjoyed every moment and cannot wait to attend the next one.
Again, I’d like to thank everyone involved for making this such a super couple of days.
In the mean time, I have a meeting on Thursday to plan the next Deepings Literary Festival for 2021. I wonder how many of these fabulous crime authors will be at that event too?