I was particularly interested in Martin Edwards' talk on the Detection Club, which began in 1930 as an invitation only dining club for crime authors which is still going strong now, and the Crime Writers' Association, the professional body for crime novelists, begun in 1953 by John Creasey. The weekend was to celebrate the Gladstone Library acquiring the archives of both bodies. If you are interested in the luminaries and forgotten names who were once best sellers in the Golden Age of Crime, I recommend Martin's award winning book, The Golden Age of Murder, the product of years of passionate research, and it shows.
After lunch those with strong stomachs enjoyed Linda Stratmann's look at poisoners, particularly those of the Victorian era, Linda is disturbingly expert on arsenic and other delights! I've blogged before on the crime classics that the British Library is publishing - particularly the wonderful covers, based on vintage travel posters. A talk from Rob Davies from the British Library, provided the background on how the series came about, with a glimpse of what may be to come. After tea we had a look at clerical crime, with Kate Charles - priests, nuns, monks, ministers and rabbis, historical and contemporary, who all combine their calling with a little sleuthing on the side. It fell to Kate Ellis to round off the day with a look at the way past and present supply ideas for novels. Kate was also responsible for the after dinner murder mystery, which was great fun, with the actors getting into the spirit in costume and the whole thing revolving around the discovery of a corpse in a trench at an archaeological dig. I couldn't make up my mind which of two candidates was the culprit - of course I opted for the wrong one!
Sunday morning brought a illuminating and entertaining talk from Stella Duffy, who has taken on the job of finishing a partially completed Ngaio Marsh story - three chapters and some notes, set in New Zealand at the end of World War Two and taking place over the course of a single night. And that night being the midsummer solstice!!! I can't wait to see how she manages it. Her descriptions of researching places in New Zealand that are connected to Marsh, and the locations she may use was fascinating.
Two last sessions looked to the future - for the Crime Classics series and a past and present round up, with all the speakers.
As I've said, it was a really brilliant weekend. So brilliant, in fact, that they are now hoping to repeat it next year.
And if that gallop though the proceeding has whetted your appetite, I have a little surprise. The Library records it's talks, and a number from the weekend are already up on their 'cloud'. If you want to hear more from Martin, Linda, Ann and some of the other speakers, and they were all fabulous, then try this link HERE
You'll need to scroll to find the ones you want. Happy listening.