On the non-fiction front, I contributed essays to three books, the subjects being Conan Doyle's short stories, Anthony Berkeley's short stories, and Gilbert Adair's Golden Age pastiches. Much of the year, though, was devoted to The Golden Age of Murder, and one very magical; moment came when my agent told me that Harper Collins had made an offer for it. The ideal publisher for that particular book. I've also loved becoming associated with the British Library. I began by writing intros for several of their republished crime classics, and ended up becoming series consultant, and agreeing to edit a total of five anthologies of short stories which will be published over the next two years. I also wrote an intro for the ebook reissue of Joel Townsley Rogers' The Red Right Hand and a Sherlockian compendium for Arcturus. Among crime writing get togethers, the CADS dinner in spring was attended by those great genre experts Doug Greene (see below, with Eddie Jones) Barry Pike, Tony Medawar and others.
In terms of events, I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a panellist at Crimefest, and giving a talk at St HIlda's, and I also had fun at the big festival at Harrogate in July. I hosted murder mystery evenings in the North East (where a trip to Hartlepool inspired the story "Lucky Liam") and Stoke-on-Trent. One truly unforgettable occasion was dinner at St Hilda's in the company of the great Colin Dexter, who presented me with an inscribed script from Lewis, a very generous gesture and typical of the man. I was saddened by the death of P.D. James, whom I last saw in February, at the Detection Club AGM. I've spent time this year becoming involved with other members of the Club on a terrific new project, details of which will become public at a later date. I've also benefited from wonderful hospitality from friends who have put me up on my jaunts "down south" - this kindness seems to me typical of the crime writing community. This has been especially evident in the help I've been given by those on both sides of the Atlantic who generously volunteered their time to read and comment on the manuscript of The Golden Age of Murder.
When I was up in the Lake District researching for The Dungeon House, I also benefited from a lot of help from local people whose contribution will, I hope, help to make this the best Lake District Mystery yet. One fresh experience was my first ever school reunion: great fun, and rather nostalgic too. I don't forget that four of the six contemporaries to whom I was closest when growing up are no longer around. A reminder that "do it now" is a very good philosophy. Amongst other things, I've started going to more exhibitions (ranging from Piet Mondrian to Sherlock Holmes) and gained fresh insights into the mysterious closed communities of the Inns of Court..
Further afield, I saw the Northern Lights from a Norwegian ship, visited the North Cape, and found that it's possible to delight in a place even when you are colder than you've ever been in your life. I recovered in the Caribbean, visiting places like Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire, and later went to another very sunny part of the world, the wonderful island of Sicily. Again, I have a Sicilian story idea just waiting to be written.
A few days in Paris reacquainted me with many of its great sights, while a week in Berlin supplied a poignant experience. I strolled through the Brandenburg Gate, which I'd last seen from a distance, when it was part of Communist East Germany, and inaccessible to people from the west. The reunification of Berlin is one of Europe's great stories of the past fifty years, and the city is one of the most exciting I've ever visited.
My final foreign trip memory concerns Malice Domestic, held in Washington D.C. I had the unexpected honour of representing the late Reg Hill, who was the subject of Malice Remembers, and the Malice community proved incredibly generous. I met old friends like Joni Langevoort, Doug Greene, and Tom Schantz, and met some lovely people for the first time, including Josh Pachter and his wife, Verena Rose, Joan Hess, Les Blatt, and Art Taylor. I recorded a podcast of "No Flowers", and had brunch with Janet Hutchings of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and dinner with Steve Steinbock, Melodie Johnson Howe, Kathryn Leigh Scott (below) Doug Greene and others. Steve it was who interviewed me on stage about Reg - one of the best British crime writers.