The Crime Writers’ Association

Alibis in the Archive 2018

Friday 8 – Sunday 10 June 2018

Back by popular demand, Alibis in the Archive (in association with the Crime Writers’ Association and The Detection Club) returns for a second year to bring some of the UK’s best-loved crime writers to Gladstone’s library, Hawarden, N Wales.

Over a weekend of talk sessions and murder mystery evenings, the weekend centres around the Crime Writers’ Association Archive which incorporates the archives and documentation of The Detection Club, the oldest and most august society of crime writers in the world, and for which Gladstone’s Library is the proud home.

To view the draft timetable please click here.


Professor James Grieve: The March of the Medical Policeman

Professor James Grieve draws on his lifetime expertise in Forensic Pathology. The March of the Medical Policeman will involve musings on murder and mythology through the millennium and review some old cases. well as postgraduate groups and the Police.

Andrew Taylor: Underneath the Glitter – The Dark Origins of Golden Age Crime Fiction

This event will look at some real-life murder cases and discuss how they helped to create the climate which enabled British crime fiction to flourish between the Wars. In particular, Andrew will deal with two cases that were distantly connected to his own family (the Moat Farm Murder of 1899 and the 1921 murder of Irene Wilkins) and discuss the impact on some of his own novels.

Martin Edwards: Collecting Crime Fiction / The British Crime Writing Archives

Look out for more event details soon.

Sarah Ward: Hidden in Plain Sight – Derbyshire Crime Fiction

Derbyshire has a fascinating history as a location in crime novels. From J Sheridan Le Fanu to Val McDermid, writers have drawn inspiration from the county. Sarah Ward, whose own books are set in the Peak District, explores how the diverse landscape of Derbyshire has produced memorable crime fiction.

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Making Fun of Death and Political Correctness

Ruth Dudley Edwards explains how she recovers from writing seriously about politics, revolution and terrorism by writing satirical crime novels. Inspired in her childhood by the Golden Age greats – particularly the hilarious Edmund Crispin and Michael Innes – and by comic geniuses like P.G. Wodehouse, the targets of her 12 crime novels include academia (in Cambridge and Indiana), the civil service, the House of Lords, the Church of England, literary prizes, conceptual art and – always – political correctness. A firm believer in learning to laugh at everything and a dedicated opponent of fashionable opinions, she will talk about how she chooses her subjects, why she so loves the crime-writing world and its inhabitants, and why she’s never met a fan of her crime novels that she did not like. As a writer and speaker, she believes in saying what she thinks without worrying about offending anyone.

Michael Jecks: Medieval Murder, Mayhem and Magic! – Writing Historical Crime

Michael Jecks, the author of 40 historical novels, will talk about life as a modern crime writer who chooses to write about the past. What are the challenges of researching, plotting and writing medieval murder stories, but also what are the benefits of setting crimes in the past? He will talk about picking the period, finding the characters, choosing the novel’s theme, and trying to avoid the pitfalls, such as how far a horse can travel, where did the roads lead, and where to go for inspiration. Michael’s talk will be based on anecdotes from his own experiences as a professional writer for 25 years, struggling with publishers to bring out books that resonate with the modern world and which people want to read!

Simon Brett: A Crime in Rhyme

A one-man show in which Simon Brett skewers all the clichés of the Golden Age Whodunit. A terrible crime has been committed at Cranfield Towers, during a weekend house party, whose guests all seem to have guilty secrets in their pasts. The local constabulary are summoned to solve the mystery, but fortunately there is also on hand a polymathic amateur sleuth, along with his chauffeur sidekick. The investigation is full of twists and turns, but eventually the perpetrator is unmasked and, in the comforting, reassuring manner of Golden Age Whodunits, sent to the gallows.

Janet Laurence: From Lord Peter Wimsey to Steve Arnot and The Line of Duty

In the 20s and 30s most crime writing showed how a brilliant amateur detective such as Lord Peter Wimsey or Albert Campion solved cases which had baffled the police. Through the 30s and 40s the fictional police became less bumbling and such writers as Ngaio Marsh with Inspector Alleyn and Josephine Tey with Inspector Grant broke new ground. Then in the 50s and 60s characters such as P. D. James’s Adam Dalgliesh, Ruth Rendell’s Reg Wexford and Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse emerged and the growth of forensics challenged the amateur detective. With the TV series ‘The Line of Duty,’ it’s not just ‘who did it’ and why, but can a member of the police force be responsible? And for the crime writer is there still a place for the amateur sleuth?

Tickets for this event are now on sale. Tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and may only be booked by calling 01244 532350. Tickets may not be reserved by email and there will be no hold tickets.

Places cost £110 which includes the event plus all food from 6pm Friday until 9.30am Sunday. Please note, full payment is required at the time of booking. There is plenty of accommodation in B&Bs and hotels nearby in and around Hawarden.

Gladstone’s Library has a mixture of single and double standard and en suite rooms so unfortunately we cannot guarantee en suite facilities for all. Single occupancy in double rooms is not permitted for this event.

Gladstone’s Library is proud to be working with the CWA and the Detection Club on the development of the British Crime Writing Archive, the first of its kind in the UK.

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