We had a lovely evening on Friday in the company of journalist and broadcaster Mark Lawson, P. D. James, Jason Webster and Henry Sutton.
They had a lively discussion about crime fiction, told us about their favourite crime fiction books and read from their own works.
I love listening to authors talk about their work and reveal the ideas behind their stories, the way they work, their inspiration... The three authors had three very different personalities, styles, inspirations and ways of working...
I love Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, Laurie R. King's Mary Russell Mysteries and Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May series. I also would love to get my hands on some Mrs Bradley Mysteries by Gladys Mitchell and learn more about The Detection Club...
For me - and I was delighted when P. D. James mentioned this - the setting of the story and the characterisation are the important things: I like to get a sense of the era, a sense of the place - I am not very interested in contemporary detective works, apart from the Bryant and May series, but these have a lot of very original features you do not find in any other detective fiction.
The actual detection work is of very little importance to me at all.
I purchased P. D. James' latest book, Death Comes to Pemberley (very soon to become a BBC TV drama), and got it signed by the great Lady herself. I couldn't help being in awe of the lovely 92-year-old author; what a life she's had!
The exhibition Murder in the Library, an A to Z of Crime Fiction, is on at The British Library until 12 May 2013.
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