[See Updates under PAST CRIMEFEST WEBSITES for older newsletters.]
Friday, 14 December 2018.
We have delayed the 30 November CRIMEFEST pass price increase to allow you to buy yourself or others an early Christmas present at a lower rate. REGISTER now to beat the 21 December price increase!
The Mercure Bristol Grand – the CRIMEFEST convention hotel – has sold out of single rooms. However, there are still some doubles that start at £10 more, and we are trying to arrange another block of rooms at another Mercure hotel close by. (We should have an update in the next newsletter.) In the meantime, the Radisson Blu is the official four-star overspill hotel, and there are a number of budget Premier Inns within walking distance of the Grand. Discount codes for the convention and overspill hotels are sent to delegates on purchase of a CRIMEFEST pass. So, to avoid disappointment, BUY TICKETS soon if you wish to stay in one of the four-star options.
JOFFE BOOKS TO SPONSOR PRE-GALA DINNER RECEPTION
We are delighted (and grateful) that Joffe Books – one of The Bookseller’s Rising Stars of 2018 – will be sponsoring the 2019 pre-Gala Dinner Reception. The drinks reception is open to all CRIMEFEST delegates with a weekend pass.
The sell-out forensic excursion returns to CRIMEFEST in 2019 by popular demand. The University of the West of England is offering delegates special access to their Crime Scene experts who train Forensic Science students and police. The special location for our crime scene will again be the Glenside Hospital Museum. Originally called the Bristol Lunatic Asylum, the museum provides an insight into the evolution of treatments and shows how mental health care has changed over the last 150 years. As an added bonus for CRIMEFEST delegates, it will be hosting a ‘murder’, just for us. Delegates will be briefed on the scene and will walk through the museum identifying clues and getting hands-on experience of searching for evidence, testing for fingerprints, identifying blood and other substances and getting to use mysterious pieces of forensic kit. Forensics experts will also be on hand to guide you through and answer specific questions, focusing on modern day procedures in a historic setting. The event takes place on Thursday, 9 May, and included in the £39.95 cost is transport to and from UWE’s campus, returning in plenty of time for the first convention panel. Tickets are limited in order to ensure a great experience for all participants, and they are only available to CRIMEFEST pass holders. For more information visit FORENSIC EXCURSION and/or BUY TICKETS soon to avoid disappointment.
PITCH AN AGENT
Pitch an Agent tickets are still available to allow delegates who are aspiring writers an opportunity to gain representation from three of the best agencies in Britain. The participating agents are Camilla Bolton (from the Darley Anderson Agency), Hellie Ogden (from Janklow & Nesbit) and Hannah Sheppard (from DHH Literary Agency). Pitch an Agent is ‘speed dating’ for an agent meets BBC’s Dragon’s Den (or Shark Tank if you are in the US). You make your manuscript pitch to all three agents simultaneously (but privately, so no public humiliation – or triumph…). Visit PITCH AN AGENT for more information or buy TICKETS.
GIVING THE GIFT OF CRIME THIS CHRISTMAS
CRIMEFEST is proud to announce that its Just Giving donation page is on track to pass the £5,500 mark by the end of the year! The contributing authors of Ten Year Stretch all agreed to make the royalties from their short stories for the anthology available to the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s ‘Sponsor A Talking Book’ programme, and you too can help by buying a copy or making a donation. Visit the GIVING THE GIFT OF CRIME page for more information.
New: Tombland by C. J. Sansom
The seventh Matthew Shardlake novel is classic Sansom: sprawling, colourful and ambitious, with (as ever) a stunning backdrop of Tudor England. On a clandestine assignment for Anne Boleyn’s daughter Elizabeth, Sansom’s wily lawyer is on the track of a savage murderer, the dark legacy of Henry VIII a shadow over the land.
Classic: The Galton Case by Ross Macdonald
This 1959 novel was Macdonald’s favourite, and is the perfect calling card for the man who was Chandler’s true heir apparent. The author’s signature theme – the malign influence of childhood events over adult behaviour – is here worked out with true rigor, and while Detective Lew Archer fulfils all the customary behaviour patterns of the tough private eye, the novel itself is in the nature of a psychological investigation.
Barry Forshaw is the author of many books on crime fiction, including Historical Noir, Brit Noir and the forthcoming Crime Fiction: A Reader’s Guide. He reviews for a number of national papers and edits www.crimetime.co.uk.
New: A Million Drops by Victor Del Arbol
Most crime thrillers begin with a murder but this sweeping saga by leading Spanish author Del Arbol (The Sadness of the Samurai) begins with a suicide. The victim’s estranged brother is a disillusioned lawyer whose life appears to be at a dead end but his investigation into the murky facts surrounding the act leads him into a compelling drama that spans several generations and unfolds like clockwork, with strong historical and political dimensions. Striking characters, settings and a gallery of fallible characters make this door-stopper of a book quite unforgettable.
Classic: The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue
Only a few years old and still actually unpublished in the UK, Donohue’s fascinating and heartbreaking novel deserves to become a future classic. A translator accompanies his wife, a ballet dancer, to Montreal where she has an engagement. A nocturnal walk in the old town takes them to a shop window in which curious puppets take the centre stage. When his wife disappears, enticed by the magic behind the store front, her hapless husband follows the evidence which proves both bizarre and tragic. A love story, a mystery, a totally unique book.
Maxim Jakubowski is the former owner of the Murder One bookshop; Guardian columnist; writes and edits fiction and non-fiction; and also reviews for Crime Time. His first crime novel in six years, The Louisiana Republic, was published in May. His next anthology Invisible Blood will appear in July 2019.
New: Homegrown Hero by Khurrum Rahman
This is the sequel to Rahman’s topical and boisterous debut novel, East Of Hounslow, and if anything it’s even better than the first book. Muslim slacker Jay Qasim is slowly rebuilding his life after saving the world, but his enemies and the British Secret Service aren’t going to let him get back to normality that easily, in a thriller that is genuinely engaged with the modern world – and snort-inducingly funny to boot.
Classic: An English Murder by Cyril Hare
First published in 1951 this is a traditional snowed-in-at-Christmas country house murder mystery, but Hare’s witty characterisations and unstrained high spirits lift it above the ruck. The detective is Dr Bottwink, a historian and refugee come to examine the family papers at Warbeck Hall, and few fictional detectives are more loveable. The writing is better than the plotting, but the book does have that rarest of things in a detective story: an original murder motive.
Jake Kerridge is the crime fiction reviewer for the Telegraph.
New: Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
Atmospheric, thrilling and utterly captivating, Bluebird, Bluebird is an unflinching look at race, injustice and tensions of all sorts in small-town America, when a black Texas Ranger investigates the murders of a black lawyer from the city, and a local white woman. Very powerful and full of contradictions; there’s pain, anger and hatred, but also love, hope and warmth. I’m still thinking about it months afterwards.
Classic: In A Lonely Place by Dorothy Hughes
In A Lonely Place is the superbly chilling story of former fighter-pilot Dix Steele – the poster boy for toxic masculinity – as he stalks the foggy, night-time streets of post WWII LA. Just thinking about this book sends a shiver down my spine. It’s very tightly written, and full of suspense and evil, but none of the violence is on the page.
Donna Moore is a reader, a writer, and CRIMEFEST’s programmer.
New: Friends and Traitors by John Lawton
A slow-burning, delicately destructive romp through several decades of British history, the class system and espionage. Immaculately researched and beautifully written and with a guest appearance of a character familiar to readers of Margery Allingham.
Classic: In Connection with Kilshaw by Peter Driscoll
At the height of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, a British army officer (called Harry) goes undercover in Belfast and finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy involving a Protestant Loyalist gang and a Marxist splinter group of the IRA. No, it’s not Harry’s Game which came out a year later, but this is a top notch thriller, recently reissued.
Mike Ripley has won awards both for his ‘Angel’ comedy crime series and for his non-fiction history of British thrillers Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. He is the continuation author of mysteries featuring Margery Allingham’s Golden Age sleuth Albert Campion and writes a monthly column for Shots eZine.
New: All The Hidden Truths by Claire Askew
The aftermath of an Edinburgh college shooting is unpicked layer by raw layer, focusing on three women: a victim’s mother, the shooter’s mother and the detective in charge of the case. Its compassion will move you, but the growing mystery around motives and relationships will keep the pages turning.
Classic: Only To Sleep by Lawrence Osborne, Hogarth
It’s 1988 and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe has retired to Mexico – where life is slow-moving, secretive and sleazy, and where the ageing PI picks up a case chasing a man who may or may not be dead and finds the dames fatales don’t get any older. A classic character lives on in a new book.
Karen Robinson is editor of the Times/Sunday Times Crime Club, a great monthly bulletin for crime and thriller fans.
New: Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton.
A [Patricia Highsmith] Ripleyesque exploration of female insecurity in the digital age, set among the socialites of Manhattan – funny and sharply observed.
Classic: The Long Shadow by Celia Fremlin
Christmas domestic noir from the British Grandmother of the sub-genre – perceptive, with plenty of wry humour, and genuinely chilling.
Laura Wilson is an author and the crime fiction reviewer for the Guardian. Her latest novel is The Other Woman.
That’s it for 2018. For reasons mentioned in past newsletters, it’s been a bit of a tricky year. (There’s an understatement.) However, the team are grateful for everyone’s ongoing support, and we look forward to being able to make some exciting announcements in early 2019. In the meantime, to those of you with social media, please promote CRIMEFEST where you can, and for those of you who don’t, word-of-mouth is equally appreciated. Let’s make next year a record one!
Wishing you all the best for the festive season,
Monday, 12 November, 2018
GIVING THE GIFT OF CRIME THIS CHRISTMAS
Apart from the obvious gift of a Full Pass to next year’s CRIMEFEST (to yourself or others), another option is to give a copy to a dear or near one of Ten Year Stretch. This anthology with twenty new stories by the world’s best writers is the perfect gift for anyone who loves the crime genre. And in doing so, you will be supporting the reading library of the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB). Click one of the following to make a purchase:
– Amazon UK
– Amazon US
– Independent bookshops UK
– Independent bookshop US
Already have a copy? In that case make a donation, and help CRIMEFEST raise funds for the RNIB.
Also in this newsletter:
ROBERT THOROGOOD RETURNS AS TOASTMASTER
We are delighted to announce that Robert Thorogood will be returning as the Toastmaster for next year’s CRIMEFEST. His rousing after-dinner speech at this year’s Gala Awards Dinner encouraged the delegates to return in 2019 and see how everyone was doing. It seemed like a perfect excuse to invite him back, and expect an event in which we revisit this. It will also allow us to find out on where things stand on the future of another season of Death in Paradise – fingers crossed!
HOTEL DISCOUNT CODES
By now all the registered delegates should have received the discount codes for the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel (the convention hotel), and the Radisson Blu Bristol (the four-star overspill hotel). The email with this information also includes details of budget hotels. The discount codes are only sent to registered guests, and both hotels still have some availability for a range of single, twin and double rooms. Please note that both four-star hotels usually sell out, so register soon to avoid disappointment.
PITCH AN AGENT
Pitch an Agent returns in 2019 with Pitch originator Camilla Bolton (from the Darley Anderson Agency), Hellie Ogden (from the Janklow & Nesbit) and Hannah Sheppard (from DHH Literary Agency). Some of the authors these agencies represent include Lee Child, Martina Cole, Charles Cummings, Elly Griffiths, Ragnar Jónasson and L.C. Tyler. The best description for Pitch an Agent is ‘speed dating for an agent meets BBC’s Dragon’s Den (or Shark Tank if you are in the US). You make your pitch to all three agents simultaneously (but privately, so no public humiliation – or triumph…) If you are looking for an agent, have not previously participated, and are not commercially published, then this is for you! Pitch an Agent is only open to delegates with a Full, Friday or Saturday CRIMEFEST Pass. Visit PITCH AN AGENT for more information or buy TICKETS.
THE INDIE ALTERNATIVE
Increasingly authors are going it alone and self-publishing their books because the financial rewards can be significantly greater than the traditional path. Also, publishing houses are now using the sales figures of self-published authors as a tool to seek out new talent. Recognising this development, CRIMEFEST organises a panel to give four independently published authors a chance to discuss their work. If you are a self-published crime writer and are interested in participating on this panel then visit THE INDIE ALTERNATIVE page for more information or to sign up.
CRIME SCIENCE VERSUS CRIME FICTION
Our programmer suprême, Donna Moore, won’t officially start on next year’s CRIMEFEST programme until later this year, but some events are already taking shape. One of them is recreating (with an amended line-up) University College London’s sell-out ‘Crime Science vs Crime Fiction’ panel. The event was created by Vaseem Khan with the UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science. From Sherlock Holmes to CSI, fictional depictions of the good-versus-evil conflict have sought to utilise the latest advances in scientific knowledge. But how closely does crime fiction mirror the realities of police investigation? How far is modern science able to help in the fight to reduce and prevent crime? This event, run jointly with the British Crime Writers’ Association (CWA), brings together bestselling crime authors with leading academics/practitioners who research or work to prevent crime. Together the panellists will discuss the ways in which crime prevention and detection differs in real life from how it is depicted in our favourite tales of murder and mayhem. A must for all those interested in crime, whether real or fictional.
CWA/MARGERY ALLINGHAM SHORT STORY COMPETITION
The CWA and the Margery Allingham Society are once again running their competition for best unpublished short story. The main requirements are that entries meet legendary crime writer Margery Allingham’s definition of what makes a great story: “The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.” The competition is open to all – both published and unpublished authors from all over the world – and is for short stories of up to 3,500 words. The prize is £500 and two weekend passes for CRIMEFEST 2019. Closing date: 28 February 2019, 6pm. Visit the website for more information.
And, finally, please note that the Full CRIMEFEST Pass will go up to £185 at the end of November, so register soon to beat the price increase.
That’s it for now. Look for details of the 2019 forensic excursion in the next newsletter.
With best wishes,
Tuesday, 4 September, 2018
A brief email before heading off to promote CRIMEFEST at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, in Florida this weekend. If you’re attending, then do stop by the CRIMEFEST registration booth to say ‘hi’ and have a Quality Street and/or a sip of Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry.
As you will have gathered from the above, CRIMEFEST is returning in 2019! I’m pleased to announce that next year’s dates will be 9-12 May. Our new home is the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel.
Until 15 September, you can register for the Early Bird Special rate of £145 through our TICKETS page. (From 16 September onwards the cost will incrementally go up to £200.)
Delegates may also purchase tickets to the Gala Awards Dinner at an Early Bird rate.
We have already sold over 40 tickets for the Gala Dinner, and more than 140 Full Passes!
Authors who intend to register should note that we have temporarily put a hold on offering panel slots. This is to allow publishers – who support CRIMEFEST in many ways, such as providing books for the delegate bags – to register authors for the limited spaces we will be offering them. In the meantime authors who register are offered a place on the waiting list, and the slots not taken up by the publishers will be made available to them. As in previous year’s we anticipate accommodating a significant number of waiting-list authors on one or more panels once we start programming, or as spaces become available closer to the time of the convention.
The CRIMEFEST website has been updated, and it lists the authors and other delegates who have already registered. We anticipate sending out the discount booking codes for the Bristol Mercure Grand, the convention hotel, and the four-star Radisson Blu overspill hotel later this month. The email will also include details for nearby budget hotels. The budget hotels are listed on the WHERE TO STAY page on the website and do not require a discount code. The earlier you book at a budget hotel, the lower their rates are likely to be.
By moving to the newly refurbished Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel – one of Bristol’s two historic, four-star hotels – CRIMEFEST has been able to maintain 2018 prices. Another bonus is that, subject to their room selection, delegates will find that the cost of bedrooms at the Grand are up to 30% lower than in recent years. All this without giving up many of the conveniences they have come to expect. The Mercure Grand provides off-street parking, has a gym, swimming pool and many other facilities. And, as CRIMEFEST’s new home is less than a ten-minute walk away from its old location, delegates can continue to visit many of their favourite haunts.
We see the move as an exciting first step into a new decade for CRIMEFEST and look forward to welcoming you back to Bristol!
Please buy TICKETS before 15 September to support CRIMEFEST and beat the price increase.
With best wishes,
Tuesday, 7 August, 2019
I hope you are enjoying your summer.
It’s been almost two months since the last newsletter for this year’s CRIMEFEST, and in that time there have been some significant developments. (Visit the website for PAST NEWSLETTERS.)
The big news is that the CRIMEFEST organisers are close to finalizing a contract for a new hotel in 2019. Our ‘usual’ dates were already taken, so next year it will either be 2-5 or 9-12 May. We will confirm which weekend later this August, when we also reveal CRIMEFEST’s new location. Naturally, the new venue is one of Bristol’s top four-star hotels, but the room rates (depending on single or double occupancy) are 31% to 26% lower than the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel’s 2019 prices. Our new home is less than a ten minute walk away from our old location, so you can continue to visit many of your favourite haunts.
Once we know the dates, this year’s delegates will receive an email which – for one week only – will offer the lowest sign-up fee. This will be followed by a time-limited ‘Early Bird’ registration rate for all newsletter subscribers. Following this, the rates will incrementally go up to £200. So book early for the best prices.
The decision to move to a new hotel was not taken lightly, but was forced upon us by the owners of the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel. As this year’s attendees know, they decided to renovate the building during CRIMEFEST, and to convert three of the four floors of convention space we contracted into more bedrooms. To their credit, the venue’s management did everything possible to make the reduced space work, and they also tried to negotiate lower rates when the 2019 contract increased by more than 100%. We thank the Bristol Royal Hotel’s management and staff for making CRIMEFEST welcome for our ten years with them.
The CRIMEFEST team look forward to welcoming you to our new Bristol location in 2019, so please pencil in both sets of dates for now: 2-5 or 9-12 May.
Until I contact you again later this month, I leave you with a funny incident that happened to one of our delegates recently – see below.
With best wishes,
Rupert Howe wrote:
‘The eldest of my two daughters just found this dirty used syringe in our front garden in the dark. Everyone freaked out. My younger daughter wants to check it out. I have to say, “No, stay away from it!”, at least 3 times. We try to find gloves and a glass bottle to put it in. My younger daughter goes to check it out anyway. Just as we’re at the height of our OMG—USED NEEDLES IN OUR FRONT GARDEN frenzy with everyone shouting at each other about infection, she says, “Oh! I know what that is! That’s that pen you got from CRIMEFEST last year: I dropped it out of the window ages ago.”