Deal Noir

10675689_593808147385667_3103059118683959549_nI attended a crime fiction event over the week-end which took me to a part of England that I hadn’t visited before. Deal in Kent is a charming small town on the south coast with what seems like a high proportion of crime writers. One of these, Susan Moody along with event organiser Mike Linane, put together an intensive programme of panels to entertain all us crime readers.

The day kicked off with a panel Those Were The Days featuring writers Richard Blake, David Donachie and Janet Laurence and was moderated by Stephen Bates. This was a session featuring writers that I hadn’t heard speak before. It reminded me how much I like historical fiction and need to read more of it. The panel was followed by Robert Goddard in conversation with Susan Moody. I’ve heard Goddard talk at CrimeFest and he’s always an entertaining speaker. The final event of the morning was A Woman’s Place In Crime Fiction Is …. which featured Helen Giltrow, Erin Kelly, Louise Miller and Laura Wilson and was moderated by M J McGrath. The writers have formed a new group called Killer Women to promote events and signings in the London area. This is a great idea and I look forward to hearing more from them.

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The afternoon began with Catherine Aird in conversation with Simon Brett. I’m a fan of Aird’s writing and it was fascinating to listen to someone with so much experience talk about her craft. The next panel was entitled Freezing To Death which was moderated by William Horwood and featured writers Quentin Bates and Michael Ridpath who set their books in Iceland and M J McGrath whose novels are based in northern Canada. There was an interesting discussion on the inspiration for the protagonists in their books and the challenges of a cold setting. Another interesting panel was The Dark Side featuring Mark Billingham, Martyn Waites who writes as Tania Carver and Alex Marwood. An entertaining discussion centred round the limits of depictions of violence that readers are willing to tolerate.

The day concluded with a discussion on comedy in crime fiction with Ruth Dudley Edwards and Simon Brett and the announcement of the winner of the flash fiction competition.

A great day. It was lovely to meet up with some crime writing, blogging and reading friends and I’m already looking forward to next years event. Thanks to all the organisers.