Wednesday 29 July 2009

Who Killed Mark Billingham?

The second event at the Harrogate Festival with which I was directly involved was a murder mystery dinner on Saturday evening. organised by Ann Cleeves. I was one of a number of authors (including Tom Cain and James Twining, two very successful thriller writers I hadn’t met before) to host a table of readers. The challenge was to solve the mystery of who had killed Mark Billingham (by atropine poisoning). The suspects were Natasha Cooper, Martyn Waites, Cath Staincliffe, and Stuart MacBride.

The puzzle prompted lively debate on our table and we guessed the solution correctly, as did several other tables (prompting a lucky dip to select the winner – not us). I thought this was a really good entertainment, and the readers really seemed to love it. Last year I was involved in the Saturday night dinner, but there was no mystery to solve. I hope something similar is done next year to build on the success of Ann’s event.

Later that evening came the quiz, a fave Festival event hosted by Val McDermid and (just to prove he wasn’t really dead after all) Mark Billingham. I was on a team of genuinely delightful people: Ali Karim, Rhian of the It's a Crime blog, Joni Langevoort (whom I first met a few years back, attending Malice Domestic in Washington DC), publisher Selina Walker and the recent CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger winner Andrew Taylor. We came a respectable third, but ended up gnashing our teeth that we didn’t figure out the right answer to the question which asked which novel by Perez-Reverte shares a title with a Scottish football team. I said to Val the following day that I still can’t believe I didn’t get that one!


crimeficreader said...

God, I don't even remember that question. It is guaranteed that on the mention of the word "football", I'd have blanked out.

The quiz was all round good fun, though. More next year, hopefully.

Martin Edwards said...

Great fun it was, Rhian. And a jolly good set of questions from Val and Mark, though 'Mysterious Pets' did floor me.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love mystery games. Solving a whodunnit at a festival sounds like a great idea. Glad the readers there enjoyed it, too.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Karen (Euro Crime) said...

It's also a song by The Divine Comedy - I had to look the title up on Perez-Reverte's bibliography!

Martin Edwards said...

Elizabeth, the event was very well received.
Karen, a very good friend of mine recently raved to me about Divine Comedy, so I really ought to check them out. It makes me feel slightly better that even a Eurocrime expert like you didn't know the answer instantly!

Joni langevoort said...

Well, I'm a month off on commenting here! We would have done even better if I hadn't said "I think it's the theme to Moonlighting" just as we were passing our paper to be checked (it was, drat). You'll win next year when you have a proper team member in my place! Hope you are all well on your side of The Pond.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Joni. Too modest! You were a great asset to our team, and I hope you enjoyed your visit to the UK.