Thursday 2 October 2008

London 1990

I mentioned that my first Bouchercon was back in 1990, when it was held in London, at University College. I wasn’t a published writer in those days, though my first novel was with publishers, and it was accepted not long afterwards. So I wasn’t eligible to join any panels and I attended as a fan.

It was a fascinating experience, even though the quality of the venue did leave something to be desired. I recall endless corridors and some rather impersonal lecture theatres below ground level One American writer (can’t remember his name) raised the biggest laugh of the weekend by paying tribute to the students of London, who appeared to be required to sit through lectures without the benefit of oxygen

Even so, it was tremendous fun. I participated in ‘Mastermind’ style quiz organised by Maxim Jakubowski, whom I’d never met before, and to my surprise I won it. One of my fellow contestants was Tony Medawar, one of the most incisive researchers into obscure detective fiction history and a thoroughly agreeable chap who – it’s a small world – later became my wife’s boss in the Civil Service.

One of the newly published writers I bumped into at the convention was Patricia D. Cornwell. By coincidence, I’d just read her debut novel, Post Mortem, and enjoyed it. We had a pleasant chat and she inscribed the book for me with great enthusiasm. Needless to say, I’ve followed her subsequent rather eventful career with much interest…

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