Bloody Scotland Crime Writers’ Festival 2015

bloody scotlandIt has just occurred to me that I should have put together a short piece about this year’s Bloody Scotland Crime Writers’ Festival that took place 11-13 September 2015 in Stirling, Scotland. My husband and I were lucky enough to be able to attend. On Friday evening we went to hear a story improvised by three authors including Caro Ramsay and Chris Brookmyre. The event was hosted by Hardeep Kohli Singh. While the authors did a great job and the event produced some really good laughs, I did not go to Alex Gray’s talks as I had heard her speak at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School the previous month. Still, she did sit with us at one of this event so I was able to chat with her and catch up. The only complaint I would mention is that Hardeep hardeepKohli Singh rather spoiled the evening with a series of inappropriate political references to last year’s Scottish Independence Referendum.

The Saturday was a busy day with a great many interesting talks and events available. I am sure that I was not alone in having to make tough choices as to which I attended and which I had to miss. I did enjoy the first talk of the day: Forensics with Val McDermid and Lin Anderson. The event was useful and entertaining. I bought McDermid’s book forensicsForensics: The Anatomy of Crime. I think that will be a worthwhile purchase. I also attended talks by Belinda Bauer and Denise Mina which was well attended, but not terribly interesting. However, Chris Brookmyre, whom I went to hear in the afternoon was as interesting and amusing as ever. I do not always enjoy Brookmyre’s books, but I always enjoy hearing him speak. Various of his books are reviewed on this site, including Quite Ugly One Morning, https://bookreviewstoday.info/2014/05/26/quite-ugly-one-morning-by-christopher-brookmyre/, which I did not enjoy and Where the Bodies are Buried, https://bookreviewstoday.info/2015/01/14/where-the-bodies-are-buried-by-christopher-brookmyre/, which I think is brilliant. In the evening my husband joined me to hear Martina Cole speak. What an inspiring woman she is. I really enjoyed hearing her speak and meeting her after that event.complaints

On the Sunday moring, my husband joined me again to hear a talk about the True Crime of the World’s End Murders. This was about how the murders of two young girls in 1977 which took the police almost 30 years to solve. It was interesting to hear the part that modern technology, DNA and forensics played in the ultimate conviction. We also managed to get complimentary tickets to hear Sophie Hannah. As Erin Kelly had spoken about this author in such glowing terms at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, we went to hear her. Unfortunately, I was not very impressed by Hannah. Erin Kelly is a much better speaker. After the talk by Sophie Hannah we went to hear Ian Rankin in with Philip Kerr. Rankin is always easy to listen to and, as he and Kerr know each other well, this made for a most interesting and entertaining event. A few of ian Rankin’s books are reviewed on this site. linwoodThese include: Saints of the Shadow Bible, https://bookreviewstoday.info/2015/08/20/saints-of-the-shadow-bible-by-ian-rankin/, and The Complaints, https://bookreviewstoday.info/2014/05/28/complaints-by-ian-rankin-2/.  I have read everything he has written and admire his work.

The final event of Bloody Scotland was Canadian author Linwood Barclay in conversation with literary agent Jenny Brown. I very much enjoy Linwood Barclay books. The humour, twists and complexity of his stories make tham a real treat for me. His talk did not disappoint. What a charming man, gifted author and amusig raconteur. An excellent finale to a fabulous festival. If you enjoy crime wiritng or crime fiction at any level, I highly recommend a trip to Bloody Scotland.

Valerie Penny

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