Monday 11 June 2018

Alibis in the Archives 2018

I'm back from Alibis in the Archives at Gladstone's Library, the second week-end event celebrating the British Crime Writing Archives which are held there. As archivist of the CWA and of the Detection Club, I set up the BCW Archives, and as a result found myself organising Alibis, in conjunction with the Library's wonderful team, brilliantly led by Louisa Yates.

The week-end was, like last year, a sell-out. The plan is for Alibis to take place again next year, from 22-24 June, and I encourage you to make a note of those dates in your diary!

This year's programme kicked off on Friday evening with "Bannocks and Blood", a murder mystery written by Ann Cleeves which was good fun. Then on Saturday morning, Simon Brett got everyone in the right mood with his extremely witty Golden Age murder mystery - in verse. Andrew Taylor talked about three real life cases in which he has a personal interest and then interviewed me about collecting crime fiction. To illustrate some of my themes during the conversation, I brought along various books, correspondence, and ephemera from my own collection, and there was a chance for members of the audience to have a look at these before Sarah Ward talked about crime in Derbyshire.

After lunch, Ruth Dudley Edwards talked about subversive crime writing, and Mike Jecks about historical mysteries. Then there was a special treat - Professor James Grieve, the leading Scottish forensic pathologist, discussing some famous cases. The day's formal programme ended with a crime writers' panel - see the photo, taken from The Puzzle Doctor's blog about the weekend.

Yesterday began with Jessica Mann talking about female crime writing, and I discussed the BCW Archives with Peter Lovesey and Sheila Mitchell (widow of H.R.F. Keating) before Peter Lovesey closed the show with a very witty account of the calamitous crime writing of James Corbett. By the end of it all, I was just a little tired, but also exhilarated as a result of the enthusiasm of the delegates (and indeed my fellow speakers) which really did make all the work and the planning worthwhile.


Peter Lovesey said...

"I daresay you're wondering why I've asked you to gather in the library." We gathered in time-honoured fashion and happily no one was taken away in handcuffs. I did see a few anxious faces and I spotted a possible murder weapon: Gladstone's fearsome axe in a glass case right next to the Crime Writers' Association archives. If the murderer got away without the corpse being discovered, it doesn't say much for the sleuthing ability of so many crime writers. Regardless of that, it was a lovely weekend. Thanks, Martin!

Martin Edwards said...

So glad you enjoyed it, Peter

Paul Beech said...

Martin, the 2nd ‘Alibis in the Archive’ was every bit as brilliant as the 1st last year, and I’m still buzzing with it all.

Never will I forget Simon Brett’s ‘Crime in Rhyme’ one-man show, nor Peter Lovesey’s equally hilarious presentation on the genius of James Corbett, the crime writer who came up with the immortal line, “Her steps were feline and catlike.”

Truth is, each and every session was great in its own way. And how amazing it was for delegates like me, being able to mingle and chat with so many top authors of the genre. I was delighted to sip coffee or wine with several of my personal favourites.

It was altogether a most interesting, inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable event, and we have you to thank for it, Martin. So here’s to you!

I shall look forward to Alibis 2019.

My very best,


RJS said...

I meant to ask Peter where he got the idea for Rough Cider.
ie the unusual fermentation process.
This has to be one of the most memorable revelations in modern crime fiction!

I've now switched to Scandi-Cider(Rekorderlig)