The 18th St Hilda's College Crime and Mystery conference was another triumph for organisers Kate Charles and Eileen Roberts, as well as for Natasha Cooper, who chaired the sessions with the unobtrusive excellence as well as efficiency that seem to come so naturally to her.
I was glad to share a platform with Andrew Taylor, who gave a very good talk about Wilkie Collins - my subject was the British lawyer-author, with special focus on Cyril Hare and Michael Gilbert. Among the highlights of a varied programme, Ayo Onatade gave fascinating insight into the world of the courts, while Val McDermid spoke very interestingly about justice, referring to one of her own excellent thrillers, A Place of Execution. What I didn't know was that the book was inspired by a true crime case - which she learned about from our mutual friend, the true crime expert Douglas Wynn.
As ever, there was the chance to meet pleasant people for the first tme as well as to renew old friendships. I was glad, for instance, to have a chat with Marcia Talley, who is in the foreground in the photo. Marcia is an accomplished American author who is a regular attendee at St Hilda's.
It was a real privilege to be invited to take part, and I'm very grateful to Kate and Eileen for all their hard work. After an excellent but very hectic week, I must admit I was pretty exhausted by the time I was driving home. But it was well worth it.