Well, it’s been a busy (and rather wonderful) couple of months!
In early September I was in Devon where I did a couple of books signings (of my latest Wesley Peterson paperback Dead Man’s Lane) and presented The Case of the Late Cook at Dartmouth Library (next year I’ve promised to present it at Kingsbridge in Devon so keep an eye on my events page).
In early October I enjoyed a wonderful evening at Bebington Library on the Wirral doing an ‘in conversation’ event with my friend and fellow Murder Squad member, Margaret Murphy (who writes as Ashley Dyer). It was a great evening and, as it wasn’t a million miles from Liverpool where I grew up, I was delighted to see two of my school friends in the audience! My friend, Janet reminded me of the time when, as teenagers, we were asked to leave our local library for making too much noise while doing our homework. She later became a librarian and I became a writer so we had to laugh!
The Murder Squad were reunited in the lovely town of Beverley on the 19th October for a day of talks and panels, culminating in a fantastic performance of my Murder Mystery Death at the Dig in the evening. It was performed by the superb Chameleon Players who gave a wonderfully professional performance (even adding a new role – that of Scotland Yard detective DI Adio). The mystery was solved over a delicious meal of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and a great time was had by all.
Then it was back to work on the third in my Albert Lincoln trilogy (called The House of the Hanged Woman) but my writing was to be interrupted when, on 24th October, I travelled to London because I’d been shortlisted for the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library Award.
It was a glittering occasion and with my fellow shortlisted authors being so distinguished - M C Beaton, Mark Billingham, C J Sansom, John Connolly and Cath Staincliffe, I wasn’t expecting to win. However, when the announcement was made, I heard my name. I’d won and when I went to the stage to receive the award I felt I was walking on air, hardly able to believe the wonderful news!
Here are a couple of pictures of that exciting night. On the right is me with Gold Dagger winner Mike Craven (we share a publisher)
I’d been told that the winners should keep the acceptance speeches short (to avoid the event ending too late . . . and any embarrassing Oscar moments) so I thanked my publisher and the library staff who voted for me. However, what I’d really have liked to say was that I love libraries and have the scar to prove it: when I was five I was coming out of my local library with an armful of books and I fell, cutting my knee really badly (I bear the scar to this day). But this didn’t put me off reading and my trips to the library became more frequent over the years. In my opinion, public libraries are wonderful, valuable institutions and I was so honoured to be chosen for this award. I love supporting libraries and I’ll do my best to do so for many years to come. So join me in raising a glass to libraries. I don’t know where we’d be without them!