The second event at the Harrogate Festival with which I was directly involved was a murder mystery dinner on Saturday evening. organised by Ann Cleeves. I was one of a number of authors (including Tom Cain and James Twining, two very successful thriller writers I hadn’t met before) to host a table of readers. The challenge was to solve the mystery of who had killed Mark Billingham (by atropine poisoning). The suspects were Natasha Cooper, Martyn Waites, Cath Staincliffe, and Stuart MacBride.
The puzzle prompted lively debate on our table and we guessed the solution correctly, as did several other tables (prompting a lucky dip to select the winner – not us). I thought this was a really good entertainment, and the readers really seemed to love it. Last year I was involved in the Saturday night dinner, but there was no mystery to solve. I hope something similar is done next year to build on the success of Ann’s event.
Later that evening came the quiz, a fave Festival event hosted by Val McDermid and (just to prove he wasn’t really dead after all) Mark Billingham. I was on a team of genuinely delightful people: Ali Karim, Rhian of the It's a Crime blog, Joni Langevoort (whom I first met a few years back, attending Malice Domestic in Washington DC), publisher Selina Walker and the recent CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger winner Andrew Taylor. We came a respectable third, but ended up gnashing our teeth that we didn’t figure out the right answer to the question which asked which novel by Perez-Reverte shares a title with a Scottish football team. I said to Val the following day that I still can’t believe I didn’t get that one!