A look around the on-site book store which, like the convention, has grown year by year, points up the sheer variety of crime writing on offer. Why are we so fascinated by something that is inherently nasty, and not an experience you would ever court in real life? That's a big topic, and I'm certainly not qualified to get into deep water on that one. But evil actions do fascinate a great number of people. While I was still an aspiring author - and I was aspiring for years - I noticed that all the manuscripts I produced had some sort of crime in them - which eventually set me on the trail to writing romantic suspense. Now I consider the crime element of the book to be a counterpoint to the love story. Throwing the protagonists together in a life threatening situation makes them more aware of each other and the attraction between them. It raises the stakes on the relationship and enhances the emotions. And yes, all right, it's exciting to write.
I had a great time in Bristol, meeting old friends and making new. The high point for me was listening to master plotter Robert Goddard, one of my great inspirations, but everyone I spoke to was in agreement that all the panels seemed to be better than ever this year. 2013 is going to be a hard act for the organisers to follow - but they'll manage it, I'm sure.
To end, a bit of personal Crimefest trivia. Which two authors attending the event have lived in Uxbridge and set books there? Me, in Out of Sight Out of Mind and Nev Fountain, creator of the Mervyn Stone comedy crime mysteries. And which two authors have both been nominated for an RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice award? Me, for Never Coming Home and Anthony Hays, writer of Arthurian mysteries.
Six degrees of separation or what?