Criminal procedures

A crime-writing festival with a twist, Crime Story, was announced recently. A collaboration between Northumbria University, Newcastle and New Writing North, it features the usual mix of talks and signings but will also lead attendees through a stage-by-stage reconstruction of a murder investigation, with real-life police officers, forensics experts and others giving their insights.

The scenario has been written by Ann Cleeves, whose Vera Stanhope books have been adapted by ITV into a series of dramas starring Brenda Blethyn. Her most recent book in the series, Harbour Street, was published in January.

According to the venue’s website the scenario “will be based around a young man, found dead in a locked room; a grieving foster mother; a landlord who keeps himself to himself and the picture of an enigmatic girl smiling down from the bloody wall.” Sounds grisly but gripping.

It’s to be held on the campus of Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne on the weekend of 31st May to 1st June. Other writers on hand will be Louise Welsh, who will be talking about her new book A Lovely Way to Burn, and screenwriter Gaby Chiappe, who adapted Cleeves’ books for Vera. Margaret Murphy, who has written thrillers in partnership with forensic scientist Dave Barclay under the nom de plume AD Garrett, will be on hand, too. For more details and to book tickets, go to the Crime Story website. It’s not the cheapest book festival around, costing the best part of £100, but it sounds like it could well be money very well spent for both readers and writers of crime fiction.



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