I enjoyed enormously the launch of The Hanging Wood last Thursday evening. The setting was both delightful and appropriate – the historic, atmospheric and tranquil Gladstone’s Library, which gave me the idea for St Herbert’s Residential Library, which plays a central part in the novel.
I gave a talk on the writing of a crime series, focusing not only on how I came to write the novel, but also the pros and cons of writing a series. I wanted to develop a theme I’d touched on in my panel at Harrogate the previous week-end. It is this: how do you write a book in the middle of a series that appeals to someone who hasn’t read you before, without repeating information that will irritate your loyal and regular following? It’s a topic to which I give a good deal of thought each time I write a series novel, yet I’ve never seen much discussion about it.
There was an excellent crowd, and I signed lots of books. Among many pleasant conversations, I was delighted to chat to the former Dean of Liverpool Cathedral, who helped me with some aspects of my last Harry Devlin book, Waterloo Sunset.
The staff of the Library were marvellous, as always. I had a pleasant dinner in the ‘Food for Thought’ restaurant before the launch – a place I strongly recommend for good meals. And then after a relaxing end to the day, reading an old Margery Allingham in my very well-appointed room, I enjoyed breakfast with some of the other residents the next morning. If you are ever in the North West, and looking for somewhere to stay, I’m sure that Gladstone’s Library will fit the bill. It’s quite unique.