This has been such a horrible “summer” so far in Britain that I had dark forebodings about a barbecue and crime event organised by the tireless Tony Higginson of Formby Books for last Thursday. Yet- miracle of miracles – the evening was sunny and I have the photos to prove it! They were taken by fellow crime writer Ron Ellis, and the photo above also shows June Francis, a prolific and successful writer of Liverpool sagas who has been a friend of mine for many years.
My fellow speakers were Stephen Booth and Frances Brody. Stephen’s Peak District series about the youngish cops Cooper and Fry has achieved a very loyal following. Frances is, in comparison, a newcomer to the scene, but her historical mysteries featuring Kate Shackleton are also making a real impact and this year she was long-listed for the CWA Dagger in the Library.
On Monday of last week, I did an event with Mike Walters at Moreton Library in Wirral. I used to live in Moreton in the 80s, and was a member of the library. This was around the time I started writing my first novel, All the Lonely People. It was fascinating to go back. And I enjoyed the gig enormously – Mike and I did it as a conversation, and although (or because?) we hadn’t planned it in detail, it seemed to go really well. Mike is an interesting writer whose latest books are written under the name Alex Walters. His earlier work is set in Mongolia, and is also well worth a look.
I rather like joint events with other writers, and over the years I’ve done a great many of them. Different pairings have different dynamics, but I honestly can’t think of any writer with whom I’ve done an event in the past with whom I wouldn’t be happy to do another in the future. I can think of a couple of cases where two fellow panel members haven’t really hit it off with each other, but even that is very unusual. Perhaps it shows that writers are more collegiate souls than their solitary occupation might suggest?