Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Baltimore events

In addition to participating in Bouchercon, I had the chance to become involved with a couple of other crime-related events whilst in Baltimore, both thanks to invitations from Ann Cleeves, who was coming towards the end of a long but very successful tour of the States.

Ann has close links with the tour organisation Elderhostel, and last year I too spent some time with Elderhostel clients who are fans of crime fiction in both Oxford and Harrogate. Elderhostel is rooted in the US, but with a UK offshoot, and their staff always seem impressively committed to making sure that their clients have a great time.

Ann gave their clients a talk about her Shetland books, and played a DVD of the islands which made them (and me) very keen to pay it a visit one day. I gave a talk on the evolution of the detective story, with an emphasis on Golden Age mysteries – and fittingly enough, my visit to Poe’s grave had taken place earlier that day and proved rather inspirational.

I also attended the city’s Enoch Pratt Library for a performance of Ann’s ‘Body in the Library’ murder mystery event. The Library is impressive, and the event took place in the Poe room - oddly enough, one of the first books I spotted in the glass cases was a biography of the great man written in the 1930s by a relative of my wife's, the poet and writer Edward Shanks.

I’ve seen 'The Body in the Library' before, but enjoy it every time, not least because it is to her example and encouragement that I owe the development of my own Victorian murder mystery event, ‘Who Killed George Hargrave?’

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