Among the pleasures of the second day of Crimefest 2013 were the chance to moderate a panel dealing with international mysteries. The panel members were Jeffrey Siger, Quentin Bates, Xavier-Marie Bonnot and Stan Trollip. I'd never met Jeff, Quentin or Xavier-Marie before, and it was a great opportunity to put faces to names and learn more about their books. Stan was a last minute addition to the team, replacing Peter James, who had been involved in a car crash (thankfully, Peter assures me he's still in one piece.) Despite the lack of notice, Stan made a terrific contribution to an enjoyable discussion.
I also attended a talk given by Susan Moody on Oxford Detectives. Susan is a long time member of an international group of crime writers who are coming to Oxford this August. As they have invited me to conduct a literary walking tour, I thought I'd better get some research in early, and Susan's enthusiasm for Edmund Crispin and Michael Innes in particular reminded me I ought to read more of their books. I've never been a great Innes fan, I must confess .I suspect I just read the wrong books long ago - a few of the later ones, which maybe don't fully represent his talent.
Other highlights included a chat with Lindsey Davis, and a meal with James Wills, whom I'd never met before. My literary agent, Mandy Little has represented me from the start of my career, but has recently announced that she will be retiring as an agent before long, while remaining with the business as a consultant. James is her successor and is now managing director of the business, so we were keen to meet each other at long last. And a very good companion he proved to be.
I also attended a panel moderated by Nev Fountain, which dealt with writing for other media. I'm not especially interested in (for example) graphic novels, but I do find the idea of writing for radio quite appealing In fact it's something I did at university, before moving back to the idea of writing novels. Various interesting points were made by a good panel which included Alison Joseph, the recently installed chair of the CWA. And it was especially interesting to me that I met Nev for the first time at the Crimefest gala dinner the following evening. More of that tomorrow.