(A Belated) Best of the CrimeFest 2013

At last I feel well enough to embark on a round-up of my CrimeFest experience-yes, slightly later than planned- and having been entertained  by some amazing articles by other bloggers and authors (links below) which are well worth checking out. I shall endeavour to keep it brief as I attended 20 panels/interviews  and don’t want to bore you all to death with every detail, but here are my highlights…


WHO IS EVERYMAN AND WHAT IS HE DOING IN MY THRILLER- Chris Ewan (moderator) Simon Toyne, Simon Kernick, Louise Millar, Michael Ridpath. An extremely interesting discussion on the role of instinct vs rationality in the realm of crime fiction characterisation, and how ‘ordinary’ protagonists can be imbued with the ability to act in extraordinary ways when they or their nearest or dearest are under threat. Best line- Simon Toyne on decamping to France to write- “ I didn’t want to sit in my spare room in my pants for six months trying to write a book”- no indeed not…

DEATH OVERSEASStav Sherez (moderator) Thomas Enger (Norway) Valerio Varesi (Italy) Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Iceland) K. O. Dahl (Norway) The role of psychogeography in crime fiction and how location directly affects the language and events related to that particular environment. What was particularly interesting was Dahl’s revelation of having been a taxi driver in Oslo, and how what he witnessed as the all seeing but largely ignored part of people’s everyday lives gave him an unique perspective on Oslo and its inhabitants. On a similar theme I also enjoyed UNDERBELLY- THE GRITTY SIDE OF THE STREET Craig Robertson (moderator), William McIlvanney, Antonin Varenne, Tim Weaver, Michael Sears which explored similar themes of violence in major cities with a brilliant unfolding of murder statistics that took on an almost competitive edge as to whose city was the most violent! And likewise another exploration of the city in MAJOR CITIES, MAJOR CRIMES- William Ryan (moderator) Barbara Nadel, David Jackson, K. O.Dahl, Pierre Lemaitre, in which the wonderfully ebullient Lemaitre described with some gusto how he channels his natural rage at the world into violently despatching people in his books.

SERIAL KILLERS- WHY DO WE LOVE THEMCaro Ramsay (moderator) Matt Hilton, Xavier-Marie Bonnot, David Mark, Steven Dunne. A discussion around the hypothesis that serial killers are not the epitome of evil but the banality of evil, and the symbiotic relationship between the killer and his pursuer. A very interesting debate on how the mental state of the detective is changed and oftentimes warped in some way by their pursual of a killer. Also a lively exploration of the modern thriller genre in  GUNS FOR HIREBarry Forshaw (moderator) Jeremy Duns, M. R. Hall, Zoe Sharp, Simon Toyne which drew to my attention some old school thriller writers that had directly influenced the panel, but also juxtaposed with how dated some of these now appeared. General consensus was that a good thriller raised the feeling of fear and suspense in the reader, but needed a firm foundation of good characterisation and fast moving plot to achieve this.

Also a special mention to the encyclopaedic brain of Barry Forshaw for his talk on British crime films which has led to a burgeoning film wish list of some great movies that I had no knowledge of, but am now determined to seek out! So much more than Get Carter and Brighton Rock


STAV SHEREZ & CHRIS EWAN- excellent work chaps!



Despite the inordinate number of books currently sharing my home I couldn’t resist buying Craig Robertson’s Witness The Dead  and the three titles in William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw series- Laidlaw, The Papers of Tony Veitch and Strange Loyalties. I also picked up James Oswald’s second novel (following the excellent Natural Causes) The Book of Souls. Bit of a Scottish theme there I can’t help feeling….

THE THREE MUSKETEERS: Thanks to the lovely folks at Quercus I got the opportunity to attend a dinner with a host of their authors, including the brilliant Antonin Varenne (whose book Bed of Nails was my best crime read last year), Pierre Lemaitre, author of the thrilling Alex, and Xavier-Marie Bonnot whose Voice of the Spirits I also highly recommended. All three authors were incredibly entertaining and I learnt a great deal about, not only the motivations as authors, but also the nature of the book trade and readers in France. Also I met the lovely Barbara Nadel, the slightly bonkers David Mark, Colin Cotterill and Martin Edwards and think I can safely say that a good night (and wee small hours) was had by all!


David Mark, Kevin Wignall and Zoe Sharp. Hilarious.

I had a fabulous time at CrimeFest and it was lovely to meet some of my cyber friends at last. Met up with fellow bloggers Mrs Peabody, Sarah of Crimepieces, Rhian of It’s A Crime (or a mystery…) Karen from EuroCrime, and Crime Thriller Girl Steph. Smashing! Thanks to the incredibly relaxed and informal atmosphere of CrimeFest, I also managed to meet a host of authors, some of whom I’ve reviewed and others completely new to me. Special thanks to Stav Sherez for his entertaining conversation on all things Americana, Quentin Bates and Ragnar Jonasson for an Icelandic education, to Steve Mosby, Anya Lipska , Simon Toyne, William Ryan, Antonin Varenne, Kevin Wignall, David Mark,  Mari Hannah, David Jackson, Paul Finch, Nick Quantrill, and many many more. Big thanks also to the organisers and delegates of this year’s shindig for a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining time. Can’t wait for next year…


Mrs Peabody Investigates-Dispatches-From-Bristol-crimefest-2013/

CrimepiecesCrimeFest Day 1, CrimeFest Part 2

Detectives Beyond BordersCrimeFest 1, CrimeFest 2, CrimeFest 3, CrimeFest 4

Do You Write Under Your Own NameCrimeFest 2013 – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Graskeggur (aka author Quentin Bates) –CrimeFest Report: All Over Bar the Tweeting

Mystery FanfareCrimeFest 2013 Award Winners (all except The Petrona)

SherlockologyHighlights from CrimeFest – Creating Sherlock

Vicky NewhamMy Experience of CrimeFest 2013

Alison GrayCrimefest-30th-May-2nd-June-2013


  1. Wow, only just found the link to this. Thank you so much for putting me in a line-up with Kevin and David for entertaining panellists! Honoured to be there :))

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.