Saturday started bright and early with a panel on historical crime fiction. Chaired by William Ryan, it featured Jane Finnis who writes books set in Roman Britain, Edward Wilson whose spy novels have a Cold War background, Ray Celestin who writes mysteries set in the jazz age and Tom Harper who written about a variety of historical periods. The panel discussed the necessity of good historical research but also the need to make the story appealing to a modern reader.
The Writing Sympathetic Characters panel was chaired by John Gordon Sinclair and looked at the tension between writing sympathetic villains and asshole heroes. The overwhelming male nature of truly evil characters was discussed along with how more attractive villains can be in literature that their heroic counterparts.
A panel I’d been looking forward to was the Euronoir discussion chaired by Barry Forshaw. It featured the Swedish writing duo, Lars Kepler, Norwegian Jorn Lier Horst, Paul Johnston, whose books are set in Greece and French author Dominique Manotti. I was fascinated by the authors’ influences which included Chandler, Hammett, Christie and PD James. Lars Kepler also referenced the film, The Exorcist, as a big influence.
Two other important events worth noting. On Saturday evening, Barry Forshaw launched his excellent book Euro Noir. A review will follow on this blog shortly but it features book recommendations from all the Petrona Award judges. It’ll be, I’m sure, a valuable resource for lovers of European crime fiction.
Finally, we announced the winner of the 2014 Petrona Award at the gala dinner on Saturday evening. I can’t recommend highly enough Leif Persson’s Linda, As in the Linda Murder and it is a worthy winner. However, all the books on the short list are excellent and it was a very difficult choice. Do come back to this blog for reviews of 2015 entries.