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My weekend at @CapitalCrime1, London @DavidHeadley @AdamHamdy @LizzieCurle @Midaspr #CapitalCrime19

This time last week I was knee deep in the post London blues after a magnificently exciting weekend at the inaugural Capital Crime festival where I was invited to attend as a blogger, what an opportunity! I would firstly like to extend my thanks to Lizzie Curle and Midas PR, as well the co-founders of this fabulous event David Headley and Adam Hamdy.Capital Crime brought a multitude of crime authors together in London, providing us the readers, crime fans, bloggers etc. the choice of a variety of interestingly thought provoking, informative and hilarious panels that will have you wishing that there were more days in a weekend. The aim of Capital Crime was to provide us the crime and thriller fans a way to experience a favoured genre, from the details to the people who write them. It offered an unprecedented level of access to some of the world’s best crime and thriller creatives and putting them together with people influenced by their work. They promised a fun, memorable experience at Capital Crime, and bloody gosh did they deliver, they deserve a stand innovation!

Enough of the background, i’m here to tell you about my time at the Capital Crime festival, grab yourself a cuppa because it may be a (it is) a long one, you better feed all human and / or furry dependants beforehand just incase!So, I’ve never travelled so far alone in my 29 years on this planet, I left little, quiet, slow Bridgend on the Wednesday morning (I know I was a day early but i’m so glad I was), I was a bag of excitement and anxiousness – the tubes mainly scared the fudge out of me if I’m perfectly honest. Anyways, fast forward a couple of hours, some tears and a lot of encouraging calls and messages I took my first step onto London concrete solo – One small step for city folks, one giant leap for this small town girl. I dragged my suitcase from Victoria station to Paddington through a picturesque Hyde Park. Had a perfect first night in London, overcome the tube and was introduced to Itsu (which sadly isn’t available in my neck of the woods).

It was a gloriously sunny day in the Big Smoke, I enjoyed a day of daydreaming, exploring and ate a delicious salad on my bed people watching through the balcony. After a relaxing few hours, it was time to get ready and meet my fellow bloggers Meggy and Zoe. I wasn’t anxious at all about meeting these two, we’d been talking for a while through Twitter and WhatsApp, when I met them both (If you haven’t heard about their


hilarious initial meeting please ask, it’s a good one!) there were cuddles and giggles from the get go. Me as a rambling rambler anyway was worried but completely at ease, so glad that I got to walk in with these lovely two or I fear I may have been the shy one in the corner (that being said, Capital Crime was completely aware that sometimes these things happen and with their eyes on the detail, asked for volunteers who could ‘work’ as introducers for people who may initially find it difficult to socialise with new people. That my friends was such a wonderful thought and I hope that those who did use that service thought so too.)The first person that wasn’t these two lovelies that I met after walking up this beautiful


staircase, was THE Karen Sullivan, another one of my favourite people, I got my cuddle (I cried on the inside because this had been talked about for ages this cuddle, but our paths never crossed *sobs*) and she was lovely, everything she is over Twitter but in person form. We had a little catch up about #Orentober plans, my experiences on the tube and that a majority of tube stations have lifts so I didn’t have to trek a sweaty hour with all my luggage from Victoria to Paddington – wish i’d known that! We then attended the Drawing Room and Edinburgh Suite for opening drinks and to hear the winner of the New Voices Award being announced. It was busy, I spoke to people who I had followed or had followed me during my Twitter life term and it was so lovely to put the actual physical person to the name.

One person that I met, I’ve followed on Twitter for a while but not clocked that it was her was Ronnie Turner author of Lies Between Us, she is so lovely, although it wasn’t until the Saturday I got to speak to her properly, she is now our Rockstar Ronnie – yet another person I’m thankful to have met and become friends with thanks to Capital Crime. I need to tell you now, I’m not a selfie person, so excuse the lack of photos of me and others, the ones that I do have others have sent me!Anywho, David and Adam gave a fantastic opening speech, you could really tell that they were both enthusiastic and utterly passionate about this festival, I think every single person there was so appreciative of their hard work and planning. The round of applause was deafening!

Eight people had been shortlisted for the Capital Crime’s New Voices Award, there were two honourable mentions for Victoria Goldman’s The Redeemer and Patti Buff’s The Ice Beneath me. After much consideration, the winner of this award was Ashley Harrison for The Dysconnect, it sounded brilliant and I hope to see it out there soon, so I can read it!

After a good load of socialising and a glass of wine, the excitement had got the better of me so this Cinderella hugged it out with new friends, ran down the beautiful staircase, took off her glass slippers and left before 9pm with plans to meet these beauties for breakfast (crime fuel) the next morning!

Oh and I met THE Laughing Gravy man, who we’ve all come to know and love as Mart the Bearded Book Blogger, who is a total hoot and may have been the influence behind my further four non – Capital Crime book purchases!

Also, you can bet your last book that I delved into the amazing goodie tote that was provided when you picked up your festival passes. It was tote-ly amazing, get it? TOTE-ly? Yes? Good, it was jam packed with lovely samplers and two books, including Fiona Cummins 2020 release When I Was Ten and Robert Harris’ The Second Sleep. And incase you’re wondering, no, these are not the only books that I left London with….. Also, this is now one of my favourite bags ever!



This day started at 6am, after all the excitement of yesterday I bounced out of bed, got ready and manoeuvred the once terrifying tubes from Paddington to Convent Garden (yes people, it hasn’t got an S on the end of Garden, who knew?), always early I got to wait in the fresh sunshine for my two breakfast buddies, who found each other easier today and were on time! I know, I was shocked too!

After some peanut butter with yogurt and a cuppa that apparently is best served in glasses, we were off to wait outside the doors of the Goldsboro bookshop that had been located in the Balmoral Room of The Grand Connaught Rooms (where the festival had taken place, I think I forgot to say that!) The books had been organised in groups that were dependant on panels that day, plus easy to grab, buy and have signed WHEN not if the mood arise! Just look at the lovely book piles, the smell in that room was every book lovers dream – brand new books and coffee *heart eyes*.

So you’re worried about picking up a copy of every single book to get signed by every single author? You think, how am I going to pack them all in my travel rucksack? I’ll have to wheelbarrow them to the tube, then off the tube… blah blah. Well my dear book readers, you should not fear, Goldsboro would package up all your bookish purchases and post them out to you, FOR FREE! On Friday I thought ‘no, I don’t need them to deliver these books, I’ll be fine’… People, next year take the offer, it is a saving grace says the girl who packed for two weeks rather that 5 days and had one hell of a heavy suitcase when 12 new books were expertly packed into the case….. not by me! This was my pile from day one (see picture). Every single one of them were new authors to me (Ruth Ware I was recommended by my blogging buddy Kelly Van Damme). Also, look another totes amazing tote bag!

My choices were very much influenced by seeing these authors amazing panels. The first panel of Friday morning was The Influence of Agatha Christie which was moderated by LC Tyler. The panellists included Sophie Hannah, Ruth Ware, Christopher Fowler and John Curran.

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The panellists were questioned not only about Agatha Christie as an author, who has sold more copies that the bible AND has been translated into a multitude of languages, but they were also asked about the use of stock characters, her use of style and how they include aspects of her work in theirs. The discussion surrounding AC’s use of stereotypical stock characters was extremely interesting, especially in terms of the time era she was writing but then again it showed that what we may suspect isn’t all it seems. They were also asked about Agatha’s work being ‘uneven’, in which Sophie Hannah took the question by the horns and said that no-one’s work is ever even, and it should never be used as a criticism because it isn’t a legitimate one. Preach it! It was agreed that Agatha Christie had a certain writing style for an artistic reason. “Literary spheres of genius.”

For me, and the panel Agatha Christie is very much the essence of a poorly day read, there are many preconceptions of authors before delving into their books – Agatha Christie may not have been the best of crime authors but she is one of the most influential and highly favoured one. My personal favourite is And Then There Were None, which is the same as Ruth and Christopher’s, whereas Sophie chooses The Hollow, John’s is Murder of Roger Ackroyd and LC Tyler is a firm fan of Murder on the Orient Express *gasp*

I, again, got to experience my first ever literary panel with these ladies, we did book runs and tea runs, chatted author stalking and recommended reads #BloggingBuddies and that is our Rockstar Ronnie at the

end who is 100% bringing crimping back in style! I also met Penny, I’m not good with faces and names but she came over to me and I got the biggest squeeze, look at us all coming together and making a crime band of sisters! here’s Penny and I before I left on Saturday!

After a quick run to the tea machine (free tea that was provided by one of Capital Crime’s sponsors) my next panel was The Interrogation of Mark Billingham Where Mr Billingham was hilariously put through his paces by experienced police detective Graham Bartlett. Mark was a suspect of murder, experiencing a good cop to cop with a bone experience in a fabulous impromptu back and forth that left the audience howling with laughter. Do you think with the depth of research crime writer’s they could get away with murder? Could they swerve police questioning with no comments and

their in-depth knowledge of motives, murder and mayhem? Look at his attitude? Anyone has a comedian spot to fill, tweet Mark! But did Mark murder Charlie Speed? His bloody fingerprint was found on a £50 note at the crime scene so he must have, right?

After the humour came the chat about whether the research that goes into the writing of a crime novel is important? For me as a reader, I think the authenticity of methods, details and similar are extremely important. I’m aware that it is fiction but I’m not too sure there is room for THAT much inauthenticity when it comes to crime writing. Thoughts? Mark and Graham finished with ‘You don’t have to type up all loose ends’, I agree, I agree that it doesn’t need to be a huge reveal of ‘who dunnit’, I like walking always from a book with it being unforgettable. After this panel I ran to the Goldsboro bookshop and purchased Mark Billingham’s SleepyHead the first novel in the Tom Thorne series published in 2012 and Graham Bartlett’s non-fictional read Death Comes Knocking.

After this panel Meggy swished out to meet the wonderful Inge, who is just as amazing as she comes across online, she very nearly didn’t come! She was brave and brilliant, she completely smashed it – so glad that I had the opportunity to meet her! While Meggy was off, a bloggers lunch was taken, burgers were eaten and Zoe managed to get the samplers of next May’s upcoming thriller Dear Child by Romy Hausmann released after pestering all you Twitter folks and the Crime Files ladies for updates. The tagline is “Fourteen years ago she was taken, now she’s free…..isn’t she?” It’s been compared to a German Gone Girl meets Room.

Okay, okay panel three, Ii told you that this was going to be a long one didn’t I? Hope that mug of tea is large enough. The panel after lunch was The Psychology of Tension with Mark Edwards and Lisa Jewell in conversation with Claire McGowan. Tension is what makes a good thriller right? So what better way than get into what thrillers are all about but talk the psychology of it! Mark’s newest thriller is Here to Stay which features the in laws from hell (we’ve all been there) and Lisa’s is The Family Upstairs. Both these novels could be labelled under the umbrella of domestic thriller but someone has come up with ‘property noir’ which I got very excited about and should be a thing, don’t you think? Claire McGowan had a number of really interesting questions that she put to this duo, some of which made me think as a reader about what I expect from a thriller and crime fiction. First off, one of the main questions Mark Edwards is asked, is ‘does the cat survive?’ Have you seen Basic Instinct? Single White Female? I’m still scarred from those poor innocent deaths, but maybe that’s what absorbs the reader? The survival of the animal pet?

Another question that was asked was by Lisa herself about what constitutes a ‘twist’? Is it a reveal? Pieces being slotted into place? Something coming out of the woodwork? Some readers expect a massive in your face shock, whereas I personally, as Mark said during his panel, I like something that leaves a bit of a lasting thought after the last page. A psychological parting gift from the author to a readers. I don’t think all red threads need to be tied up in a bow and I really don’t like the phase ‘a twist that you won’t see coming’…. well now I know a twist is coming i’m going to expect it and I will probably see it. What’s next for Lisa and Mark? Well, Lisa’s new book should hopefully be out by Christmas, it focuses on a woman who has a suspicious mind. She lives with her two teenagers and begins to wonder what her husband is up to, especially after a teenager goes missing *gasp* #WatchThisSpace. Mark has a new thriller coming next year called Far From Home, a couple is house sitting for another couple when a woman saying she is a friend of the couple turns up. Is she all she seems? I need them both, thanks!

One of the inspirational panels that I had the privilege to attend was the London, the Capital of Crime panel, where Ali Karim was in conversation with Martina Cole discussing London as the iconic setting for the crime and thriller genre. This woman is brilliant, she was open about her beginnings, she’s one of the longest standing authors with an original publisher, she gives back to society and as she said just because you sell quantity, it doesn’t mean you don’t sell quality. BRILLIANT. She is the Queen of Crime. So with that fangirling over, lets talk her panel.

Martina Cole is now a Doctor of literature and teaches writing to life sentence prisoners, her empathy was admirable, she talked about how the prison, educational and housing system needs to be changed which would decrease crime rates, gangs and similar. The talk also turned to psychopaths, how they can be identified and avoided? Martina answers straight about how they can’t be identified and avoided because of technological advancements in online dating as well as the increased number of DMs being sent to unwilling parties of male genitalia….. please stop this!

I didn’t write so many notes about this panel because Martina and Ali Karim were intoxicating, interesting conversation and just brilliant.

After back to back panels I got a bit of a break, where I made a bit of a wally of myself…. true story unfortunately! First things first, check out these delicious samples of Orenda Books upcoming published Icelandic thriller by newcomer Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir The Creak on the Stairs that will be published later next year! Beautiful right? And i’m almost too scared to read because I’ll want more!

So you can imagine my yelpy surprise when I spotted Poe and Tilly creator MW Craven in the book room, just chilling there talking to his people! I wasn’t 100% sure, because I do that, I question myself, so I googled him, yes it was definitely him unless he had an evil twin. Anyways, I pull up my big girl socks and wander over with Penny. Long story shout I word vomited at 100 miles per hour, though I had the wrong guy, said to MW ‘i’ll try again tomorrow’ and walked off. Super embarrassed and vowed not to talk to another author ever again. I did speak to him on the Saturday, calmly and collectively I think because I couldn’t think of a damn thing to say apart from ‘can’t wait for your panel’.

I did redeem myself when I met these two, Robert and Carol Bridgestock who write together under the R.C Bridgestock. After interacting for ages via Twitter, tweeting to say i’ll catch them at the festival and trying to hunt them down I peered past a pillar and there they were! I’ve never felt so excited! I waltzed over to them like i’d known them for years and had two of the squeeziest cuddles. I could have sat and chatted with them all

day accompanied with a strong Yorkshire tea and a pack of digestives. Robert worked as a high up detective for 26 years, from murder cases to hostage negotiations, whereas Carol worked the civilian side of the police with the money and firearms. Robert especially, who has seen some heart and gut wrenching stuff during his time in the police, is so friendly and chatty. Then there’s Carol, who Robert calls ‘his norm’, she’s fantastic and smiley. These two were the only authors that I just needed a photo with and I got it! They were also part of a great panel, more about that later!

My final panel of the day was Is Crime Fiction a Problem for Feminists? When Killer Women members Julia Crouch, Sarah Hilary, Amanda Jennings, Colette McBeth and Kate Rhodes were in conversation. We’ve all read that crime fiction novel where the woman is the weakest character, naïve in many ways or even when the body of a female victim is fetished over. This panel discussed why female characters are mainly victims, rather than the strong narratives within a novel. It was an interesting, no words barred panel where these five hard-core women spoke out on behalf of fictional women. We as women are brought up to behave in a good manner, we are taught to be nice and polite. The ladies on this panel picked that apart. Women within crime fiction tend to be passive but can women also be heroes? Can you think of strong female characters in crime

fiction? I have a few, D.I Kate Burrows created by Martina Cole, Dr Temperance Bones in the Kathy Reichs novels, even Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs. They are there, but you need to look a tad deeper than if you were looking for a strong male character. Although female characters were spoken about in detail, Amanda Jennings said that the strongest female characters are the imperfect ones, from imperfect wives to imperfect mothers – there is a variation of these roles, it’s important to know that. My favourite quote of the panel was told by Colette McBeth in regards to women’s sexuality not being taken into consideration in general and in terms of writing, here it is: “A man who knows the difference between the pubic bone and the clitoris” I think there was applause, may have just been in my head but what a quote to end the day on.

After my final panel of the day, I was there enjoying a can of Coke at the bar waiting for Zoe before a crisp and dip date, when there, in the corner was Steve Cavanagh! The author of the Eddie Flynn series and stand alone Twisted. I was hiding behind a pillar, we all know what happened with MW Craven earlier, I was not risking that again. Zoe comes back, I practically throw the cans at her, waltz over to The Cavanagh and I actually talk to him, and he was so lovely! Although, I was a *tad* gutted Tracy, his hilarious wife wasn’t attending the festival, it was awesome to meet the man behind Eddie Flynn. I get my Brave Blogger’s Badge after that one, yes?

To weekend pass holders there was an exclusive screening of the movie adaptation of Widows, Lynda La Plante’s series, directed by Steve McQueen. I after having possibly 5 hours of sleep the night before opted out, to M&S it up with some spicy tortillas with dips and a bit of Gogglebox.



Got yourself another cuppa? Well Saturday started off on a bad note, i’d been a bit poorly throughout the night so I missed breakfast with the girls and the first panel that was When Woman Make Murderers but I just couldn’t attend. I then forgot my bloggers pass while on the tube, ran back to the hotel to get it (couldn’t find it) and nearly got stuck in the lift! An eventful Saturday morning wouldn’t you say?

I did manage to grab a cup of strong coffee before attending Is True Crime Better than Fiction? Panel, which included authors Jack Flynn, William Clegg QC, and Robert and Carol Bridgestock who discussed true crime as an inspiration for fiction with Emma Kavanagh. I sat close to the front as all these authors who have some type of police – detective background talked about the issues of true crime V fiction. I am a huge true crime reader, podcast listener and documentary watcher, who isn’t these days? There’s something that draws people into the mind of psychopaths, kidnappers, cults etc. But why? Jack Flynn was invited to be part of the American Innocent Project at it’s baby stages, before it became a huge tool in the field of miscarriages of justice. William Clegg QC is a barrister with 47 years of law experience, who has worked a number of high profile cases including that of Jill Dando’s murder. I’ve already introduced you to the duo who are R.C Bridgestock and their detective – civil police experience, they also consult with TV producers with their shows, such as Happy Valley. Finally Emma Kavanagh has many years experience as a police & military psychologist, she’s trained firearm officers and military personnel.


It was another really interesting panel with discussions about how infallible evidence doesn’t always lead to the criminal culprit, especially with talk to miscarriages of justice. Is the system always right? How does the system help those who are in the system? I spoke to Carol Bridgestock, who told me a story about when her and Robert were in a shop (I think) and a guy was walking by really shiftily, approached Robert and asked was he Detective Bridgestock – the man said that Robert had arrested him for burglary but had been the only person who took care of him. There’s stories like that! This panel had been my most anticipated for the Saturday, a look into Crime Fiction writing by the people who have lived it – insightful, heart-breaking and most of all, interesting.

Unfortunately, after this panel I had to leave to still feeling rather poorly and I hadn’t managed to eat before the hectic morning had taken over,, I didn’t recover from that until I got some pizza! I did buy more books before I left though AND I did get the tour of bookshops by Mart from The Beardy Book Blogger, where I was forced to purchase more books from Foyles and Waterstones…. seriously, can you believe that guy? The cheek! LOOK at the books that had to be packed and I had to drag home with me!

Overall thoughts

Overall, quickly because I’ve rambled enough, Capital Crime was fantastic, more than fantastic. I got to meet some incredible women (and that bearded fella before he points it out), a favourite publisher, some faces I’ve already met and some wickedly down to earth authors – never would I have ever imagined when I became a book blogger 10 months ago would have had an opportunity to blog the first Capital Crime festival, hopefully the first of many! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity, I hope it looks like I know what i’m doing underneath this rambling.

The staff were all friendly and happy to point you in the direction of wherever you needed to go. I loved the idea of the introducers, as I’ve already said and that you had accessibility to the bar and hot beverages from 9am onwards. The rooms were large enough for the capacity that was needed, and the setting was just beautiful.

What would I like to be different next year? Everything was top notch, the only thing I wish there’d been is a larger sitting area, there were 500 people attending each day and there wasn’t a lot of space to sit between chosen panels especially for those bringing lunch in. Another hope for next year, I hope they include a more diversity when it comes to publishers, as well as possibly a panel of small indie authors. Independent publishers tend to publish more daring type of crime thrillers that I think would be interested to delve in to on a panel. Also expanding to (i’m a Welsh lass) having a Welsh based panel or a variety of panellists from the Scottish, English, Irish and Welsh crime writing world please.

The first year was spectacular and I can’t wait for next year. What crime writers would you like to see at Capital Crime 2020?

If you’re still with me, thanks for reading! I’m off for a lie down, that was a long one!

Happy Reading.

Categories DiscussionTags

6 thoughts on “My weekend at @CapitalCrime1, London @DavidHeadley @AdamHamdy @LizzieCurle @Midaspr #CapitalCrime19

  1. This must have taken you ages to write up 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ALL DAY YESTERDAY! Then my laptop crashed at the 2500 word mark and I thought I lost it all 😱 I did not but I was very catatonic last night haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ugh technology 😑


  2. “…grab yourself a cuppa because it may be a (it is) a long one, you better feed all human and / or furry dependants…”

    Done, done, and done. I’ve got my coffee and have just handed my 92-yo Mom her poached egg & apple fritter. The neighbor’s cat hasn’t come over yet for her treat, but the bird feeder is filled and my feathered friends are stuffing their little beaks.

    Wow! I’m proud of you handling the journey and the Tube and a first step into London all by yourself!

    What’s Itsu?

    I definitely want to hear about Meggie and Zoe’s hilarious meeting.

    I think that is so cool that they boxed up and shipped book purchases for free for those who didn’t want to schlep books home in their luggage! It would definitely encourage me to buy MORE than I would if I had to think about getting it all home. Clever!

    Well, I’m not a big fan of Crime / Thrillers but I can definitely appreciate how fun that event was with all the interesting panels and book signings and author meetings and stuff.

    Thanks for your great report!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your mum’s lunch sounds so yummy! Oooh what cat and I love watching little birds having a little snack.
      The tube on the first day was packed, delayed, hot and sweaty but you kind of get used to it after a while! Itsu is like an Asian themed fast food restaurant thing, with sushi, salads and noodles. Absolutely delicious!

      Haha they were always constantly missing one another! Both at the wrong cafes and it’s something you’d see in a comedy show!

      I thought that was a great offer, one I wish I had taken! It was unbelievably fun and interesting. I’m so glad that you enjoyed my post, and thankyou for commenting!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohhhh I need an Itsu here in Arkansas. 🤣🤣🤣. Sounds like those girls need their own reality show! 😆


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