Wednesday evening was a lot of fun. The Mystery Women event was organised by Kate Charles, of whom more another day, and the setting, Ludlow Castle in Shropshire, was quite idyllic – especially as the weather was very kind to us.
I was a member of a panel of eight writers. My colleagues, in addition to Kate, were Andrew Taylor, Marcia Talley (an American writer who deserves to be better known in the UK), Suzette Hill, Laura Wilson, Natasha Cooper and Phil Rickman. It proved to be a good mix. The one person in the group I hadn’t met in person before was Phil Rickman, although he has interviewed me on the radio a couple of times. So it was good to make his acquaintance, and to hear him tell the audience that there is serious television interest in his books featuring Merrily Watkins.
We had a capacity audience – selling 100 tickets for a literary event is quite an achievement, and a tribute to the organising skills of Kate, and those working with her. A special mention for the Castle Bookshop, which supported the event admirably. Each of us spent a few minutes talking about our books, and then there were questions from a group of readers who were very well-informed. The event lasted for close on two and a half hours in all, and even then it seemed too short – a sign of the enjoyable time we had.
I can’t think of many venues for writing panels that I’ve found as delightful as Ludlow Castle. It really does reek of history. Prince Arthur (the first husband of Catherine of Aragon, and brother of Henry VIII) spent time there, for instance. A truly memorable occasion. I’m very grateful to Kate for having invited me to be part of it.