This past weekend saw the first online version of Alibis in the Archive and what fun it was. Gladstone's Library was closed for eighteen months and only reopened at the start of September, but huge credit goes to the tireless Louisa Yates and Rhian Waller for managing the weekend so brilliantly. When I put the programme together, I was aiming for a combination of quality and variety and I'm enormously grateful to all the wonderful authors who took part.
Lynne Truss and Simon Brett got things off to a great start on Saturday morning with a very witty discussion which included Simon's memorable description of story structure as 'the Lego bit of the writing'. After that, David Brawn of HarperCollins interviewed me about Howdunit and other facets of my crime writing career; we also touched on The Life of Crime, the copy edit of which I'm currently working on.
Then came a wonderful contribution from two American writers whom I've long admired: Joseph Goodrich and Rupert Holmes. It was full of great moments and I particularly liked his story about his contribution to the soundtrack of Arthur (yes, Burt Bacharach wrote the soundtrack, but Rupert did play a part...) On Sunday morning, an American writer currently resident in London, Bonnie MacBird, talked to David Brawn about the enduring appeal of Sherlock Holmes.
Len Tyler led a discussion with Ruth Dudley Edwards, Michael Jecks and Antonia Hodgson about the timeless appeal of detective fiction. I was amused by Len's explanation of the appeal of Gladys Mitchell despite the fact that her books often fade after a bright start: 'she's worth reading for the first 50% of the book'. The weekend was rounded off with no fewer than four panellists joining us from the US to talk about American traditional detective fiction: Art Taylor, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Tonia Spratt-Williams, and Verena Rose. I loved every moment of the panels and feedback from the audience was just what we'd hoped for. Next year, Alibis will return as a live event over the weekend of 10-11 June, but with an online component as well. Can't wait...