I've been meaning for ages to visit the British Library, and I finally achieved this ambition the other day, although I only had time to pop in very quickly before catching a train from nearby Euston. However, the brief visit was not only long enough to whet my appetite for this impressive place, but also to allow me to look round a small but interesting exhibition, Murder in the Library: an A to Z of Crime Fiction.
As the title suggests, the exhibition is organised on alphabetical lines, rather than thematically or chronologically. This is a perfectly sensible idea for a small-scale look at the genre. It goes without saying that it cannot hope to be comprehenive - even a multi-volume set of books about the genre could not be. But I found it entertainingly and sympathetically presented, with some fascinating items and rare manuscripts, including one from Conan Doyle..
Above all, I was pleased to discover a number of items that were completely unfamiliar to me. These included The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, and a modern Georgian equivalent of the Dennis Wheatley "crime dossiers", called Mr Deaxley's Silent Box. I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who has come across either of these fascinating-looking works.
I also had a bonus when I went into the British Library shop - and found plenty of copies of All the Lonely People on display. That doesn't happen so often that I'm indifferent about it! And there were also copies of the new edition of Ask a Policeman. Yes, my first visit to the British Library was entirely positive, and I hope to spend more time there before too long.