September First Monday Crime Event

I have been taking a little bit of an unplanned blogging break for the past two weeks but couldn’t resist sharing my experience last week when I attended the September session of the First Monday Crime Event.

The night featured a host of brilliant authors including, Sophie Hannah author of a number of psychological novels and has recently penned two new Hercule Poirot novels, Tim Weaver author of the successful David Raker series, Rod Reynolds author of the superb Texarkana novels featuring Charlie Yates and debut psychological thriller author Jane Corry.

This was yet another superb night filled with criminal discussions, wine, books, fun and ended with drinks in the local pub.

During the session the authors discussed their inspiration behind their novels, Sophie Hannah was approached by her agent and the Agatha Christie estate to write a new Hercule Poirot novel. Sophie has always been a big fan of Agatha Christie’s novels which are usually ‘puzzle based mysteries’ which she has replicated in the Poirot novels.

Tim Weaver created the David Raker series who features a missing persons investigator still coming to terms with the death of his wife and wanted through his series to ‘give a sense of who the missing people are and Raker.’

Rod Reynolds is a big fan of noir novels and has set his new novel Black Night Falling in the 1940s in Hot Springs, Arkansas, which was ‘the mobs vacation.’ He discovered this little gem of a place while researching his first novel The Dark Inside. Black Night Falling sees reporter Charlie Yates thrown head first into trouble struggling to do the right thing before it is too late.

Jane Corry spent a few years as a writer in residence in a male prison. This experience changed her writing voice creating a darker humorous tone. Jane wanted to stretch family boundaries in My Husbands Wife which I think she does a fab job of as well as featuring a male prison and a charismatic prisoner who rocks one of the main protagonists, Lily’s life.

The authors also discussed the pros and cons of using a lot of physical characterisations within crime novels and the dreaded plotting question. Overall, this was yet another fabulous evening showcasing a range of amazing crime writers.

The next First Monday event will be in October and will feature SJ Watson, Antonia Hodgson, Stuart Neville and William Ryan. Tickets can be purchased here.

Don’t forget to follow at @1stMondayCrime for updates on all their upcoming events.

Don’t forget to follow all of the authors on Twitter as well:


Now for the featured novels:

Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah is the second in the new Hercule Poirot mysteries which sees the return of Hercule Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool who has been invited to a house party by Lady Athelinda Playford at her mansion in County Cork, but it is no ordinary gathering. As guests arrive, Lady Playford summons her lawyer to make an urgent change to her will – one she intends to announce at dinner that night  She has decided to cut off her two children without a penny and leave her fortune to someone who has only weeks to live. But after Lady Playford’s announcement a killer strikes…

Broken Heart by Tim Weaver is about a woman who drives to a secluded beauty spot on the Somerset coast. CCTV watches her enter but doesn’t see her leaving. In fact, Lynda Korin is never seen again. How can someone just disappear? Her sister calls missing persons investigator David Raker. For him, the mystery of where she went is only the start. The real question is why a woman with no reason to run would choose to leave her entire life behind? Was it her decision? Or did someone make it for her? Raker is an expert at following the echoes of decades-old lies. But only Lynda Korin knows the most shocking secret of all – and she’s missing, presumed dead…

Black Night Falling by Rod Reynolds is set a few months after The Dark Inside (Reynold’s debut novel) where reporter Charlie Yates, having left Texarkana for the safety of the West Coast finds himself drawn back to the South, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, as an old acquaintance asks for his help. This time it’s less of a story Charlie’s chasing, more of a desperate attempt to do the right thing before it’s too late.

My Husbands Wife by Jane Corry asks the question what if your life was built on a lie? When lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind. But when she takes on her first criminal case, she starts to find herself strangely drawn to her client. A man who’s accused of murder. A man she will soon be willing to risk everything for. But is he really innocent? And who is she to judge?

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Highlights: Greenwich Book Festival

On the bank holiday weekend I headed down to Greenwich and attended a few panels which was part of the fantastic Greenwich Book Festival.

The festival is now in its second year which takes place in the historic buildings and grounds of the Old Royal Naval College and is a two-day event which features a host of local authors, an array of children events and has a creative strand for emerging writers.

I was fortunate enough to attend a panel on Inside Stories with YA author Melinda Salisbury, Little Brown editor Karen Ball, Journalist Anna James, Literary agent Lucy Luck and chaired by festival co-founder and Hodder & Stoughton creative director Auriol Bishop.

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This was an engaging panel which featured each panelist’s insights into publishing, their individual backgrounds, how they got into their chosen careers, top tips for aspiring authors and even gave the audience the chance to ask their own questions about the publishing industry.

On the Saturday I attended a panel on How to Get your Book Published. This was a fab whistle-stop discussion with Fanny Blake ex-publisher and author of six novels including House of Dreams and Lucy Atkins author of The Missing One and The Other Child. The panel focused on what an agent is, how to find and submit to one, the role of the editor and some top tips for aspiring writers.

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One of the top panels of the day was Inside Grip-Lit with crime/thriller authors; Gillian Slovo, author of Ten Days, Sam Baker, author of The Woman Who Ran, Fiona Barton, author of The Widow and chaired by Lucy Atkins.

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This was a jam-packed novel where the authors discussed each of their novels, their characters, the themes in their books, the publishing industry, ‘planning versus plundering,’ gender versus power and book covers.

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This was my second year of attending the festival which was ever bit as great as last year. This is a unique festival which caters to fellow book lovers of all ages, including the little ones, with a friendly atmosphere and a diverse range of events to go to. I would definitely recommend going if you get the chance next year!