Tag Archives: kate atkinson

Coffee, tea or murder

Last weekend I was lucky enough to sample the delights of afternoon tea in Bettys in York. It was all very civilised. We bypassed the usual never ending queue into the main café, and were led straight to our table in the previously unseen upstairs. We then spent a very nice afternoon eating salmon sandwiches, scones, cakes and drinking tea. Well ok, as a coffee drinking vegetarian I’d already put my special request in so I had Betty’s posh coffee and very nice avocado sandwiches.

The first Betty’s cafe was opened in the home of the ‘Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival’ The lovely spa town of Harrogate back in 1919 and still remains its most popular café. Me and the Sister went in last year for coffee and cake and were surrounded by people excitedly discussing the festival and carrying goody bags. I’ve no doubt this year will be no exception.

The programme for the event has recently been released and once again it looks a fantastic few days. There are some great special guests, including Ruth Rendell being interviewed by Jeanette Winterson which I’m especially looking forward to. I’ve always been a big fan of Ruth Rendell. Although I’ve not read any of Jeanette Winterson’s books apart from ‘Oranges are not the only fruit’ which as a child I had to keep hidden under my bed as it would most definitely not have been classed as suitable reading.

I’ve not yet been through the entire programme in detail, or indeed planned my reading list for the next few months but at first glance it looks an excellent programme. Some of the speakers are old favourites from last year, whilst some are brand new such as William McIlvanney who I hadn’t even heard of until I saw he was being interviewed by Ian Rankin so will be looking out his novels.

This year’s TV tie in panel is Vera. Ann Cleaves (star of last year’s murder mystery themed dinner) is going to be joined by those who are responsible for bringing her novels to tv, including actor Brenda Blethyn. Another interesting sounding session features forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black OBE. I’m always fascinated by how far fiction actually mirrors real life, and how much artistic license authors have to employ to keep the story moving.

One of the special guests this year is Lee Child, I have to confess that I’ve never actually read any of his books, so he will definitely be an author I put on the top of my list. He’s being interviewed by Comedian Sarah Millican so that should be an excellent session. Special guest on Saturday evening is York born Kate Atkinson, whose Jackson Brodie novels have recently been turned into a tv series. As a York dweller myself I’m always happy to hear from local people.

The one thing that really did stand out of the programme was that there was not one session I would want to miss. Last year me and the Sister did skip a couple, mainly to give us time for food and of course Betty’s cake. This time Betty’s will definitely have to wait until the show is over!

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A necessary end

The Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival 2012 is over. The books have been put on the shelf, the ‘tossergate’ explosion on twitter has died down, and the reservations have been made for 2013.

Therefore Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival Challenge 2012 has come to an end.

As I’ve said before technically I failed the initial challenge. However its my challenge and my rules therefore the abridged version of the challenge was to read a book by an author in every session. This was much more manageable, and I’m proud to say I read a book by an author in all 18 sessions, including Crime in another dimension.

For those of you wanting more figures – during the festival there were 50 authors appearing over the three days (Mark Lawson was mistakenly counted as an author in my previous post) In total if I include some books that I read prior to starting the blog, although have read since last august when we first booked to attend the festival, I have read 33 of them which I think is quite impressive! 20 of the books have been read in the past 5 months.

I’ve enjoyed every minute of the challenge, and also the blogging. Its been a great chance for me to revisit authors I knew as well as find some new ones to try. Having a target has meant that at times I’ve read books that I would not normally have picked up. Its also meant that very occasionally I’ve wanted a break from crime and have been tempted to pick up some pink fluffy stuff, but luckily I’ve always resisted! Coming back from Harrogate I did wander if I would want to have a total crime break, but I’m pleased to report thats not the case. In fact completely the opposite and I can’t wait to devour the huge pile of books I brought back with me.

So as one door closes another opens as they say. This time its in the guise of guess what… yes the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2013! We have our places reserved and I’m looking forward to it. Val McDermid is going to be chairing the programme committee (a decade after she chaired the very first festival) Already lined up to talk is Charlaine Harris, Kate Atkinson and Ruth Rendell, so its going to be another action packed weekend and this time giving myself a whole year to do it I’m once again going to aim to complete the TOPCWFC take 2!


List of novels read:

  1. Amanda Kyle Williams – Stranger you seek
  2. Ann Cleaves – The glass room
  3. Camilla Lackberg – Hidden child
  4. Chris Mooney – Soul collectors
  5. David Mark – The dark winter
  6. Deon Myer – Devils peak
  7. Elizabeth Haynes – Into the darkest corner
  8. Gillian Flynn – Dark Places
  9. Gregg Hurwitz – You’re next
  10. Harlen Coben – Live Wire
  11. Ian Rankin – The impossible dead
  12. Jilliane Hoffman – Plea of insanity
  13. Jo Nesbo – The Leopard
  14. John Connolly – Burning Soul
  15. Julia Crouch – The Cuckoo
  16. Kate Mosse – The Winterghosts
  17. Laura Lippman – Don’t look back
  18. Megan Abbott – The end of everything
  19. Mark Billingham – Bloodline
  20. Neil Cross – Captured
  21. Nicola Upson – Two for sorrow
  22. Oliver Harris – The hollow man
  23. Penny Hancock – Tideline
  24. Peter James – Dead like you
  25. Peter Robinson – Before the poison
  26. Ryan David Jahn – Acts of violence
  27. Stephen Leather – The basement
  28. Stuart MacBride – Shatter the bones
  29. Stuart Neville – The twelve
  30. Tania Carver – Cage of bones
  31. Tim Weaver – Dead tracks
  32. Tony Thompson – Gangland
  33. Val McDermid – The retribution

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