Newsletter Archive

Tuesday, 30 April 2024.

Hi all,

We have been so busy crossing the ‘t’s and dotting the ‘I’s for next weeks’s CrimeFest (yikes, next week!), that we completely forgot to contact you about CrimeFest Awards shortlists!

So for those last minute reminders and announcements, here we go.

If you have signed up for CrimeFest, then you will be listed on the AUTHORS & DELEGATES page. Please check that your name is spelled correctly, because that is how it will be shown on your pass. For any issues, email us.

Now, drumroll….

Eligible titles were submitted by publishers, and a team of British crime fiction reviewers voted to establish the shortlist and the winning title.

All winners receive a commemorative Bristol Blue Glass Award

Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award
In association with headline sponsor, the Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award is for debut authors first published in the United Kingdom in 2023. The winning author receives a £1,000 prize.

– Stig Abell for Death Under a Little Sky (Hemlock Press/HarperCollins)
– Jo Callaghan for In The Blink Of An Eye (Simon & Schuster)
– Megan Davis for The Messenger (Zaffre)
– Jenny Lund Madsen for Thirty Days of Darkness translated by Megan Turney (Orenda Books)
– Natalie Marlow for Needless Alley (Baskerville)
– Alice Slater for Death of a Bookseller (Hodder & Stoughton)

eDunnit Award
For the best crime fiction ebook first published in both hardcopy and in electronic format in the United Kingdom in 2023.

– Rachel Abbott for Don’t Look Away (Wildfire)
– Jane Casey for The Close (HarperCollins)
– Martin Edwards for Sepulchre Street (Head of Zeus)
– Christina Koning for Murder at Bletchley Park (Allison & Busby)
– Laura Lippman for Prom Mom (Faber & Faber)
– Craig Russell for The Devil’s Playground (Constable)

Last Laugh Award
The Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel first published in the United Kingdom in 2023.

– Mark Billingham for The Last Dance (Sphere)
– Elly Griffiths for The Great Deceiver (Quercus)
– Mick Herron for The Secret Hours (Baskerville)
– Mike Ripley for Mr Campion’s Memory (Severn House)
– Jesse Sutanto for Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers (HQ)
– Antti Tuomianen for The Beaver Theory (Orenda Books)

H.R.F. Keating Award
The H.R.F. Keating Award is for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction first published in the United Kingdom in 2023. The award is named after H.R.F. ‘Harry’ Keating, one of Britain’s most esteemed crime novelists, crime reviewers and writer of books about crime fiction.

– M, J, F & A Dall’Asta, Migozzi, Pagello & Pepper for Contemporary European Crime Fiction: Representing History and Politics (Palgrave)
– Lisa Hopkins for Ocular Proof and the Spectacled Detective in British Crime Fiction (Palgrave)
– Kate Jackson for How To Survive a Classic Crime Novel (British Library Publishing)
– Steven Powell for Love Me Fierce In Danger: The Life of James Ellroy (Bloomsbury Academic)
– Nicholas Shakespeare for Ian Fleming: The Complete Man (Harvill Secker)
– Adam Sisman for The Secret Life of John Le Carré (Profile Books)

Thalia Proctor Memorial Award for Best Adapted TV Crime Drama
This award is for the best television crime drama based on a book, and first screened in the UK in 2023. 

Eligible titles were collated from the Radio Times, and CrimeFest newsletter readers established the shortlist and the winning title.

The winning author and production company each receive a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

– Dalgliesh (series 2), based on the Inspector Dalgliesh books by P.D. James (Channel 5)
– Reacher (series 2), based on the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child (Amazon Prime)
– Shetland (series 8), based on the Shetland books by Ann Cleeves (BBC)
– Slow Horses (series 3), based on the Slough House books by Mick Herron (Apple)
– The Serial Killer’s Wife, based on the Serial Killer books by Alice Hunter (Paramount+)
– Vera (series 12), based on the Vera Stanhope books by Ann Cleeves (ITV)

Crimefest Awards For Best Crime Novel for Children and Young Adults
Eligible titles were submitted by publishers, and reviewers of fiction for children and young adults voted alongside volunteering members of the School Library Association (SLA) to establish the shortlist and the winning title.

The winners receive a commemorative Bristol Blue Glass award.

Best Crime Fiction Novel for Children
This award is for the best crime novel for children (aged 8-12) first published in the United Kingdom in 2023.

– A.M. Howell for Mysteries At Sea: Peril On The Atlantic (Usborne Publishing)
– Lis Jardine for The Detention Detectives (Penguin Random House Children’s UK)
– Beth Lincoln for The Swifts (Penguin Random House Children’s UK)
– Marcus Rashford (with Alex Falase-Koya) for The Breakfast Club Adventures: The Ghoul in the School (Macmillan Children’s Books)
– Robin Stevens for The Ministry of Unladylike Activity 2: The Body in the Blitz (Penguin Random House Children’s UK)
– J.T. Williams for The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries: Portraits and Poison, illustrated by Simone Douglas (Farshore)

Best Crime Fiction Novel for Young Adults
This award is for the best crime novel for young adults (aged 12-16) first published in the United Kingdom in 2023.

– Jennifer Lynn for Barnes The Brothers Hawthorne (Penguin Random House Children’s UK)
– Nick Brooks for Promise Boys (Macmillan Children’s Books)
– Ravena Guron for This Book Kills (Usborne Publishing)
– Ravena Guron for Catch Your Death (Usborne Publishing)
– Karen M. McManus for One of Us is Back (Penguin Random House Children’s UK)
– Elizabeth Wein for Stateless (Bloomsbury YA)

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Tickets to the Gala Dinner will be on sale until close of business, 3 May.
(Some returns might be available from the CrimeFest reception desk.)

Full Passes, and Friday and Saturday Day tickets will no longer be available online from close of business on Thursday 3 May. However, they will be available for sale at the CrimeFest reception desk in the convention hotel.

Please note that the lowest price for Full Passes to next year’s CrimeFest will be during the convention weekend. Early bird prices will be available from 14 May, until the end of that month. The first price increase will be 1 June, with the cost incrementally going up during the year.

So, what are you waiting for? Check the PROGRAMME page to see what you’ll be missing if you don’t attend and buy your TICKETS now!

This will be the last newsletter until we announce the winners post-CrimeFest.

Delegates will get a final email later this week or early next with any last minute announcements.

We hope you can attend!

Travel safely and see you in next week!

Adrian & Donna,
CrimeFest Co-Hosts.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024.

Hi all,

It is April 2nd so, no kidding, the CrimeFest itinerary is now up on the website!

In this (brief) newsletter:

It has taken longer than anticipated but finally, the wait is over! The CrimeFest itinerary can be perused on the PROGRAMME page.

So, authors, bloggers, publishers, and—of course—readers: please use your social media to help blow the virtual trumpet. Share the programme link, and help us spread the news and put out a clarion call to arms to all fellow crime fiction aficionados to be there or be square!

We always look forward to seeing old friends, but also love welcoming new ones too, so do encourage all to come along to the friendliest and most inclusive crime event in the UK!

Find us on Facebook. Just search ‘CrimeFest Bristol’ to tag us in a post!

Or on ‘X’ formerly known as Twitter. Tag us on X, @CrimeFest – where we have 12.7k followers.

Thank you!

And a heads-up that the final price increase is coming up, and the full weekend pass goes up to £200. Unlike similar events, with exception of the Gala Dinner, there are no unexpected extras.

For your Full CrimeFest or community passes, as well as Gala Dinner tickets, visit the TICKETS page.

The full pass ensures delegates entrance to all quizzes, receptions, panels, and interviews (subject to seating availability). The full pass also comes with a high-quality canvas bag with a programme book, and a book or two.

Please note that the lowest price for full passes is only available at the convention itself, and that the cost incrementally goes up during the year.

For those of you who (sadly) can’t make it for the full weekend, in the next 48 hours a limited number of Friday and Saturday day passes will become available. The day pass (£100) comes with a programme book and access to any interviews and panels being held on the day. Available from the TICKETS page soon.

Calling all daredevils: we’re challenging you to join Stuart Field, Laura Lippman, and Zoë Sharp for a chance to win a complimentary pass and a Bristol Blue Glass award. All you need do is put yourself forward as a candidate for CrimeFest’s closing panel: Criminal Mastermind. One round on a specialist subject related to crime fiction, and one general knowledge round, and you could be a winner! Oh, and we’re opening this to all full pass holders. So come on bloggers, readers: don’t be shy! Email CrimeFest with your name and specialist topic for a chance to participate. The deadline to enter is 12 April.

And full pass holders can also still apply to take part in CrimeFest’s opening panel: MURDLE @CrimeFest with creator and author, G.T. Karber.

There are a limited number of tickets available for the MURDLE event. However, due to high demand, we are asking delegates (full CrimeFest pass holders only) who want to secure a place, for an upfront £25 deposit. This will be refunded post event. Want to take part? Email CrimeFest with MURDLE @ CrimeFest in the subject line and we will send you an invoice if you are one of the lucky entrants to be drawn!

Be it Diwali, Easter, Eid, Passover, or just a Bank Holiday, we hope you have (had) an enjoyable break, and managed to remove one or two books from your to-read-pile.

See you in May? We hope so!

Adrian & Donna,
CrimeFest Co-Hosts.

Thursday, 15 February 2024.

Hi all,

BIG news. Murdle is coming to CrimeFest!

2024’s CrimeFest will kick-start with none other than G.T. Karber, who will host a live, in-person, immersive version of his #1 bestselling Murdle books on our exciting opening evening.

We are THRILLED to invite all you Miss Marples and Monsieur Poirots to sharpen your deduction skills for a night of intrigue, murder, mayhem, mystery, and prizes to be won! (Including a full complimentary pass to CrimeFest 2025.)

With Peter Guttridge completing his historical novel in Australia, co-host Adrian had considered taking on the Thursday Pub Quiz inquisitor honours himself. But everyone can rest easy, because G.T Karber and Murdle have come to the rescue! As the General Secretary of the Hollywood Mystery Society, he has staged more than 30 immersive whodunnits in the LA area. Yes, Hollywood is coming…

The Murdle puzzles have become an international sensation, claiming last Christmas’ much coveted #1 slot. Greg will be visiting the UK to launch the third instalment in the series: Murdle: Even More Killer Puzzles is published on 9 May by Souvenir Press.

He will be making CrimeFest his main stop in his brief tour of the country.

Just one more thing… alongside Laura Lippman and Vaseem Khan, G.T. Karber will also take part in a Friday panel honouring the enduring popularity of Columbo, the much-loved television series starring Peter Falk (beige raincoats at the ready).

There are a limited number of tickets for the Murdle event. Due to high demand, we are asking delegates (full CrimeFest Pass Holders only) who want to secure a place, for an upfront £25 deposit. This will be refunded post event. Want to take part? Email CrimeFest with Murdle@CrimeFest in the subject line and we will send you an invoice if you are one of the lucky delegates selected in a draw at the end of April.

Donna and Adrian want to thank G.T. Karber, Profile Books and Souvenir Press for bringing this special event to CrimeFest.

Before you rush to book your Murdle tickets, just a brief reminder that newsletter subscribers can still vote to establish the shortlist and winner of the Thalia Proctor Memorial Award for Best Adapted TV Crime Drama. And, if you opt in to do so, you might even win a CrimeFest pass or a selection of DVDs! You can vote here, and the deadline is 23 February.

Happy viewing, reading and…puzzling,

Adrian & Donna,
CrimeFest Co-Hosts.

Saturday, 3 February 2024.

Hi all,

Some thrilling news! But first a little admin:

Earlier this week the discount codes for the Mercure Bristol Grand (the convention hotel) and the Bristol Clayton were sent out to all registered delegates. If you have registered and did not receive them, then please contact us.

In this newsletter:

A fanfare please…

In January 24, the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) announced that two icons of the genre – James Lee Burke and Lynda La Plante – are to receive its highest accolade: the Diamond Dagger Award.

And if our line-up with Featured Guests Cathy Ace, Laura Lippman and Denise Mina wasn’t exciting enough, we are immensely proud to announce that both James and Lynda will be participating at this year’s CrimeFest!

Here’s something to inspire any author struggling to get a publishing deal: James Lee Burke’s novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected 111 times over a period of nine years before being submitted for a Pulitzer Prize (after it was finally published by Louisiana State University Press).

Best known for his Louisiana based Dave Robicheaux books, the multi-award-winning author of four series of books, as well as multiple stand-alone novels, is hardly a recluse, but he is known not to fly. Anywhere. However, James has graciously agreed to do a live video interview at the convention.

CrimeFest presents the Diamond Dagger interviews in association with the CWA, so we are delighted that Vaseem Khan, the current chair, will host the interview onsite. Vaseem has interviewed many of the world’s most famous crime writers for Red Hot Chilli Writers, the podcast he co-hosts. So, expect his trademark humour and insightful chat.

And then there’s Lynda La Plante – actress, screenwriter, producer, award-winning novelist and trailblazer – paving the cultural landscape as we know it.

Following an acting career, she made her name in 1983 with her original script for Widows, the first of her instant classics. This was followed by Prime Suspect (UK/US), and continued decades of addictive prime-time television. Lynda is the undisputed Queen of Crime TV!

Incredibly, she is also the author of over fifty bestselling novels, most of them featuring much loved series characters. Her final Detective Jane Tennison thriller, Whole Life Sentence, will be published in July, with her memoir to follow later this year.

How fitting that Lynda was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to Literature, Drama and to Charity.

We look forward to welcoming both Lynda and James to CrimeFest!

CrimeFest, with thanks to Specsavers, and in association with Max Minerva, Bristol’s leading independent bookstore, is bringing the bestselling children’s author Robin Stevens to Bristol.

Robin, one of the country’s best-loved children’s authors – whose ‘Murder Most Unladylike’ series has sold over 600,000 copies since the first book came out in 2014 – will appear at a special event for a number of schools in the city in May.

In addition to the event, with the help of participating publishers, hundreds of books worth thousands of pounds will be donated to inner-city schools in Bristol. This is thanks to publishers who donate copies of each book submitted to the CrimeFest awards for Best Crime Novel for Children and Best Crime Novel for Young Adults.

Previously overlooked in UK crime writing awards, CrimeFest is passionate about acknowledging the contribution these writers make. After all, many offer a gateway to reading for children; something which really should celebrated. Young people have faced huge anxieties of late, and reading offers escapism, solace, comfort, and connection. Also, these authors are laying the foundation for the next generation of readers to celebrate the genre we all love.

The first winners of these awards, back in 2017, were Simon Mason for his young adult title Kid Got Shot, and Robin Stevens for Murder Most Unladylike: Mistletoe and Murder. It is, therefore, a great delight that Robin has agreed to participate in the school event.

Appearing at CrimeFest is Holly Jackson, the author of last year’s young adult winning title Five Alive. The BBC drama adaptation of her A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is expected to be one of the highlights of this year’s television calendar.

Talking of crime drama, newsletter readers with square eyes can now vote to establish the shortlist and winner of the Thalia Proctor Memorial Award for Best Adapted TV Crime Drama. And, if you opt in to do so, you might even win a CrimeFest pass or a selection of DVDs! You can vote here, and the deadline is 23 February

Co-host Donna Moore has done it again, and come up with a truly marvellous itinerary! We’re just dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s (okay, Adrian is complicating matters by introducing last minute additions), but we anticipate contacting moderators next week and, shortly after that, the panellists. The draft itinerary should be up by the end of the month, so get your highlighter pens, and diaries, at the ready!

Rankin to star as Rebus in drama reboot? YES, but that would be actor Richard Rankin, not author Ian. Richard Rankin is probably best known for appearing in the television adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books (now available on Channel 4 in the UK). Rebus is set to be released on pay-per-view Viaplay later this year. No details of terrestrial broadcast have been announced.

C.J. Sansom’s Tudor-set Matthew Shardlake books are currently in production but, sadly, only to be shown on pay-per-view Disney+. Stephen Butchard, who did such a wonderful job in adapting Bernard Cornwell’s books for the BBC’s The Last Kingdom (UK/US), will be doing the honours for Shardlake. Sean Bean plays Thomas Cromwell to Arthur Hughes’ Matthew Shardlake.

That’s it for now.

Happy viewing and reading,
Adrian & Donna,
CrimeFest Co-Hosts.

Thursday, 23 November 2023.

Hi all,

It’s been too long since we last contacted you, so welcome to this bumper newsletter.


But first… If you registered to attend CrimeFest 2024, please check you are listed on the Authors & Delegates page. If not, please do contact us and let us know.

If you haven’t registered yet,

(Sorry for shouting, but we want to make sure you beat the price increases! So, buy Tickets now.)


…are – tada – Laura LippmanDenise Mina, and Leader of Toasts, Cathy Ace. Joining these remarkable women, in spirit, is the extraordinary P.D. James as our Ghost of Honour.

Oscar Wilde said, “If it is worth having, it is worth waiting for… That certainly applies to Laura Lippman: having her as a Featured Guest has been a long time coming. As a two time-winner of CrimeFest’s eDunnit Award, for Wilde Lake and Sunburn, she was set to attend in 2019. Then, of course, for most of us, events were put on hold for nearly two years.

So, 2024, is the year where we finally get to welcome the multi-award-winning author of the Tess Monaghan book series, as well as many standalone crime and thriller novels. No doubt she will also be able to tell us about the upcoming Apple TV+ adaptation of Lady in the Lakea novel that Stephen King declared as, “Extraordinary”. The series will star Natalie Portman.

Denise Mina last attended CrimeFest just over ten years ago, and a lot has happened since: An Alex Morrow novel, a new thriller series featuring Anna and Fin, three stand-alone novels, and Denise is the first woman to be asked to write a continuation instalment of Raymond Chandler’s classic PI Philip Marlow books! And that doesn’t count lots of other forays into television and graphic novels. Plenty to talk about then; we can’t wait to welcome her back.

Cathy Ace first attended CrimeFest in 2016, and it has been a pleasure to have the whirlwind of an author attend every year since. So, we’re delighted that Cathy will be the Leader of Toasts at next year’s CrimeFest Gala Awards dinner. The Welsh writer, who now lives in Canada, is best known for her WISE Enquiries Agency and Cait Morgan mysteries. The rights to the latter books have been bought by Free@LastTV, the production company behind the Agatha Raisin television series.

In 2012 the CrimeFest team received a call from P.D. James’ publisher, asking if we might be interested in having her attend our convention… Guess how long it took us to think about that! She couldn’t have been a more graceful guest and, at age 92, enthusiastically participated in all the events we offered her. Ten years since her passing, we will be celebrating her contribution to crime fiction with regular Ghost host Simon Brett, award-winning crime novelist Frances Fyfield, and Peter Kemp, the Sunday Times chief fiction critic. All were good friends of Inspector Adam Dalgliesh creator Lady James of Holland Park.

Of course, apart from the headliners, we also have new faces and much appreciated regulars. Visit the website for a list of all the participating authors who have registered to date.

First introduced in 2022, CrimeFest’s bursary for a crime fiction author of colour returns for a third year. The bursary covers the costs of a weekend pass to the convention, with a night’s accommodation and panel appearance. Previous recipients were Saima Mir and Elizabeth Chakrabarty. To apply, send an email with ‘BURSARY’ in the subject line, and a brief description of what you hope to gain by applying. The deadline to apply is 30 November, so get your skates on!

We’re thankful for the input of Ayo Onatade and Vaseem Khan, who help judge all applications. And to Ayo for her insightful comment on why bursaries are still important today. Read it here: The Bookseller – Comment – Why we need bursaries

In recognition of the high-quality of writing by many self-published authors, CrimeFest annually schedules our Indie Alternative panel. The deadline to be considered as one of our four panellists is 30 November. So, again: skates! For more information visit the Indie Alternative info page.

CrimeFest will shortly be contacting publishers inviting them to submit eligible titles for our CrimeFest Awards:

– Specsavers Award for Best Debut Crime Novel
– eDunnit Award for Best Crime eBook
– Last Laugh Award for Best Humorous Crime Novel
– H.R.F. Keating Award for Best Biography or Critical Book related to Crime Fiction
– Best Crime Novel for Children (aged 8-12)
– Best Crime Novel for Young Adults (aged 12-16
– Thalia Proctor Memorial Award for Best Adapted TV Crime Drama

There is no cost attached to entries being submitting, shortlisted, or winning, so, if you are an author, check the eligibility guidelines, and urge your publisher to enter your book(s).

This award is named after Thalia Proctor, a much-loved and valued member of the CrimeFest team and the crime writing community.

The winning drama is voted by you. We have been scouring the Radio Times for eligible entries and, though there are still several weeks to go before the end of the year, we’re asking any Goggle-boxers out there to let us know if you think we have missed any.

To be eligible, the programme has to be based on a book (commercially published in the UK at any time), and screened on television for the first time in 2023. Please see the page with entries identified so far, and let us know if we missed any, (or whether we got any of them wrong).

To thank you, we will do a random draw of all the emails we receive and send the winner a crime drama DVD boxset. (Please note that, unless it is region free, the discs are likely to only play on European – region 2 – players.) The deadline to do so is 15 December.

And, back by popular demand, see further down for some news items about crime dramas that will make their way to your screen(s) soon.

Baffled by what to buy the crime fiction lover in your life this Christmas? Have no fear, CrimeFest’s Seasonal Gift Store is here, with some killer buys: T-shirts, refillable bottles, mugs, key rings, coasters, and copies of Ten Year Stretch, CrimeFest’s 10th anniversary anthology.

Of course, the greatest gift of all would be to buy your nearest and dearest (which obviously includes you) a registration to CrimeFest 2024! Buy Tickets now and, if it is for someone other than yourself, we can send you a gift certificate.

Oh, and another gift you might consider is the latest novel by CrimeFest co-host, Donna Moore. Yes, our amazing programmer is also an award-winning author! Following Go to Helena Handbasket and Old Dogs, comes The Unpicking. Spanning three generations of women who take on systemic corruption and injustice, the new novel takes on a darker tone than its predecessors, and comes – of course – highly recommended!

Slow Horses, winner of this year’s Thalia Proctor Award, returns for season 3 on Apple TV+ on 29 November. Gary Oldman, who plays Mick Herron’s Jackson Lamb, has indicated that he would be very happy and honoured and privileged to go out as Jackson Lamb — and then hang it up.” Fortunately, he’s contracted for at least one more season after this one!

Close runner-up for the same award was the rollicking Reacher, which also returns as a binge worthy seasonal treat. Tune into Amazon Prime on 15 December for the adaptation of Bad Luck and Trouble, number eleven in the book series. So far it is not known which title will be the basis for the third season, though Reacher star Alan Ritchie is known to be partial to Die Trying and The Hard Way.

Also coming to Amazon is Kay Scarpetta, based on the hugely popular series by Patricia Cornwell. Nicole Kidman plays the forensic expert. No news on who will play Kay’s niece, but Jamie Lee Curtis has been confirmed as Lucy’s mother.

The BBC’s Christie for Christmas is Murder Is Easy. It may not feature any of The Queen of Crime’s famous sleuths, but the cast includes David Johnsson, Douglas Henshaw, Penelope Wilton and Tamzin Outhwaite.

Following Death in Paradise, created and novelised by CrimeFest regular Robert Thorogood, and Beyond Paradise comes another spin-off: Return to Paradise. Following Caribbean and West Country settings, the latter will be set in Australia. No news on casting yet, but Ralph Little and Kris Marshall return for Christmas specials.

A further Robert Thorogood creation making it to your screen soon is the adaptation of The Marlow Murder Club, the first instalment of his books featuring an unlikely collection of women who band together to solve crimes. Former Miss Moneypenny Samantha Bond heads the cast.

That’s it for now. Is it too early to say, Season’s Greetings?

Adrian & Donna,
CrimeFest organisers.