Tuesday, 10 June 2008


A few more reflections about the first Crimefest, in Bristol. I was involved with a couple of panels and attended various others. For those who have not attended a convention of this kind, the idea is that each panel has a particular theme linked to crime fiction in some way. There is a moderator, who (in effect) leads the discussion between, typically, four other panel members. Ample time is usually allowed for questions from the audience.

Colin Campbell was an effective moderator on a panel with a broad ‘courtroom’ theme. Unusally, I hadn’t previously met Colin, or any of the other panel members – John Macken, Keith McCarthy and Chris Ewen. The ‘chemistry’ between panel members influences the mood of the debate, and I did wonder how it would all work out. Happily, even though we were strangers, Colin made sure we all gelled together. I was especially fascinated by Keith’s mention of pathologists playing music in the morgue.

When I was first told that I was to moderate a panel at 9 am on Sunday morning, I admit to feeling that I’d been handed a ‘graveyard slot’. But I cheered up on learning that my panellists included fellow lawyer Neil White, as well as Kate Ellis and Adrian Magson. I’ve talked about their books previously on this blog and they are a diverse and talented bunch of writers. I hadn’t met Pat McIntosh before, but she contributed a number of very good suggested topics in our exchange of emails prior to the week-end. She is the author of a series of historical mysteries featuring Gil Cunningham and his wife Alys.

As things turned out, the audience on Sunday morning was impressively wide awake and receptive, and I was really pleased with the way the panel discussion progressed. A good way of finishing a memorable week-end.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Martin, you're far too modest. The panel went brilliantly (in spite of the early slot) because you ran it like a smoothly-oiled Maserati (not sure where that odd ananlogy came from, but it sounds about right). It was delightful and I enjoyed being part of it. In future, though, I'm sure 09.30 would be a shade easier to cope with...