I’ve started work on the paper that I will be delivering at the St Hilda’s Crime and Mystery Weekend in August. It’s an event I’m really looking forward to – a chance to revisit old haunts in Oxford and to meet up with old (all right, yet fairly young!) friends. It’s a few years since I last spoke at St Hilda’s, and the last time I attended the week-end I had the delightful experience of meeting up with John Prest, who was a history don at Balliol when I was a student. John has given me help during the intervening years with the character and work of Daniel Kind, the historian in my Lake District Mysteries.
The theme of the weekend is The Wages of Sin. I’ve received a flyer telling me that speakers have been chosen to match the topic, which says something not entirely flattering about my reputation, but I’m in sinfully good company, with such marvellous writers as Robert Barnard, Kate Charles, Christine Poulson, and Andrew Taylor. I’m proud to count them all as friends. Cilla Masters, another good mate, is one of the after-dinner speakers.
I’ve decided that my paper will focus on sinful victims. I can think of quite a few characters who meet that description – for instance in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. But any suggestions from more modern books or authors will be gratefully received!