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.