Monday, 30 March 2015

The CWA Conference at Lincoln

Lima, Lymm, and then Lincoln in the space of 96 hours - it's all go at the moment! The reason for my trip to Lincoln this past week-end was to attend the annual CWA conference, always for me a highlight of the year. The conference is a social occasion, and a very good one, but there is also the chance to learn a good deal from the speakers, and this year Roger Forsdyke organised a very good line-up indeed. Roger is an ex-cop, and his contact book is impressive. This is the third time I've attended a conference he's arranged, and each has been excellent.

We began on Friday evening with a ghost walk around the city centre. Now Lincoln is a place with a notable history, and this was a fun way to kick off the week-end. After that, dinner, and a chance to catch up with people before the talks began on Friday. The CWA has always had a strong social dimension, and with membership on the up, there is a sense of a thriving and upbeat organisation.

The speakers included two current "cold case review" team members, senior detectives who explained how they set about solving the mystery of body parts found on the shore by the Wash. A fascinating investigation, which as the author of "cold case" books set in the Lakes, I found very thought-provoking. Then there was a chance to listen to a rather witty judge, with special expertise in criminal cases, and also a publisher specialising in ebooks. There was a book-signing at Waterstones, and a visit to a forensic lab at the university in the afternoon - or you could simply wander around the city streets in the sunshine, or take a bus tour.

The judge was the speaker at the gala dinner, and he was excellent. Sunday saw two more high quality talks, one from a detective superintendent who had solved a horrific murder case, and one from a senior figure in the CPS. And at the AGM, Len Tyler was duly elected Chair of the CWA, while the Vice Chair will All in all, a memorable week-end. Next year's conference will be in Norwich, and if you are a CWA member, it's strongly recommended.  

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