strap line

AWARD WINNING AUTHOR

Writing in the Sunshine. Writing in the Shadows.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Alibi in the Archive Part Two

Saturday at Alibi in the Archive was a packed day. Starting with a fresh look at Sherlock Holmes from the inimitable David Stuart Davies, who had played a very convincing murderer in Ann Cleve's murder mystery the evening before, we next whizzed through  the publishing history of Agatha Christie's monumentally successful books - beginning with a three book contract in 1924, from David Brawn, who now looks after the Christie legacy.

I was particularly interested in Martin Edwards' talk on the Detection Club, which began in 1930 as an invitation only dining club for crime authors which is still going strong now, and the Crime Writers' Association, the professional body for crime novelists, begun in 1953 by John Creasey. The weekend was to celebrate the Gladstone Library acquiring the archives of both bodies. If you are interested in the luminaries and forgotten names who were once best sellers in the Golden Age of Crime, I recommend Martin's award winning book, The Golden Age of Murder, the product of years of passionate research, and it shows.

After lunch those with strong stomachs enjoyed Linda Stratmann's look at poisoners, particularly those of the Victorian era, Linda is disturbingly expert on arsenic and other delights! I've blogged before on the crime classics that the British Library is publishing - particularly the wonderful covers, based on vintage travel posters. A talk from Rob Davies from the British Library, provided the background on how the series came about, with a glimpse of what may be to come. After tea we had a look at clerical crime, with Kate Charles - priests, nuns, monks, ministers and rabbis, historical and contemporary, who all combine their calling with a little sleuthing on the side. It fell to Kate Ellis to round off the day with a look at the way past and present supply ideas for novels. Kate was also responsible for the after dinner murder mystery, which was great fun, with the actors getting into the spirit in costume and the whole thing revolving around the discovery of a corpse in a trench at an archaeological dig. I couldn't make up my mind which of two candidates was the culprit - of course I opted for the wrong one!

Sunday morning brought a illuminating and entertaining talk from Stella Duffy, who has taken on the job of finishing a partially completed Ngaio Marsh story - three chapters and some notes, set in New Zealand at the end of World War Two and taking place over the course of a single night. And that night being the midsummer solstice!!! I can't wait to see how she manages it. Her descriptions of researching places in New Zealand that are connected to Marsh, and the locations she may use was fascinating.

Two last sessions looked to the future - for the Crime Classics series and a past and present round up, with all the speakers.

As I've said, it was a really brilliant weekend. So brilliant, in fact, that they are now hoping to repeat it next year.

And if that gallop though the proceeding has whetted your appetite, I have a little surprise. The Library records it's talks, and a number from the weekend are already up on their 'cloud'. If you want to hear more from Martin, Linda, Ann and some of the other speakers, and they were all fabulous, then try this link HERE

You'll need to scroll to find the ones you want. Happy listening.


2 comments:

  1. Hi Evonne – a brilliant weekend it was indeed! Yes, I was there too, in fact we met briefly in the ‘Food for Thought’ restaurant during the Sunday morning coffee break.

    As I wrote on my own blog, ‘Grandy’s Landing’ (http://paulbeech.wordpress.com), “I seemed to spend the whole weekend back in the inter-war Golden Age with the shades of Sayers, Christie and Berkeley ever-present; also Sherlock himself from the days of gas lamps and hansom cabs, of course!”

    What a great line-up of speakers we had. And what a terrific venue Gladstone’s Library was with its sumptuous wood panelling, gorgeous grounds and air of learning – perfect for murder mysteries indeed! I actually guessed the culprit in Kate Ellis’ ‘Death at the Dig’ but wasn’t lucky enough to have my entry drawn out! So it goes.

    I’ll never forget ‘Alibis in the Attic’ 2017, celebrating the official launch of the British Crime Writing Archives. Hats off to Martin Edwards for arranging it all and hosting the event.

    My very best,

    Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Paul Good to hear from you. It was a fabulous weekend, wasn't it - hope they do find they can repeat it next year.

      Delete