I'm back at home briefly in between various crime-writing trips. A few days in London proved highly enjoyable, and the first event on my list was a talk to the Oxford University Society in a rather special and memorable location. This was the highly atmospheric French Protestant Church in Soho Square. There was an excellent turn-out, and led to a couple of remarkable encounters which were a real bonus. One lady in the audience had actually attended the very same village fete in Great Budworth, Cheshire, which I discuss in the introduction to The Golden Age of Murder, the occasion which first introduced me to Agatha Christie and detective fiction. And I also met another lady whom I last talked to back at Oxford more years ago than either of us would care to remember. Amazing.
The next evening, there was a Detection Club dinner - and my very first time at the Ritz Hotel. It all went swimmingly, and having hosted two posh dinners in the space of a fortnight, I felt hugely relieved that everyone seemed happy and there were no hitches. Phew!
After that, it was time for a visit to Woking Library. As I explained to the audience, one particular place nearby will feature in my next novel...The event was part of a festival run by Surrey Libraries, and as so often I was impressed by the enthusiasm and efficiency of the staff. It was also particularly good to see Fiona, a loyal supporter of my books, though I wasn't able to give her a definite date for the appearance of the next Lake District Mystery!
A trip to the War Museum gave the chance to see the very striking cascade of poppies, a reminder of the different but very impressive display at the Tower of London a couple of years back. And when I left London, I hared back up north in order to catch the last hour and a half of the annual detective fiction book fair in Harrogate. I did wonder whether it would be worth it, but I was delighted to find some excellent books. One in particular was a quite irresistible gem, and I'll talk about it on another occasion.