What do you get when you put two heavyweights of the Crime Fiction world together on one stage at Humber Mouth? Chemistry and then some. Val McDermid and Mark Billingham played off each other like they’d been doing a double act for years.


With thirty novels ‘not out’, endless radio plays and dramas Val McDermid is a true doyenne of the genre. Her books are read worldwide and her Wire in the Blood series found critical and popular acclaim on TV as well as the page, with Geordie actor Robson Green brilliantly taking the role of Dr. Tony Hill. Speaking about her Lifetime Achievement Award Val says,‘You normally have to die before you get one of those.’ It was actually Mark Billingham who presented her with it at Harrogate Crimewriting Festival, she explains how having been part of ‘Harrogate’ since it began, she is especially pleased with that one.

Mark Billingham is also no stranger to success, with sixteen novels to his name, including the deeply disturbing Thorne series, with David Morrissey in the title role, which debuted on Sky One in 2010. He was presented with the UK’s top crime-fiction award the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the year for Lazybones in 2005.

In conversation with Nick Quantrill – a crime fiction writer who set his acclaimed Joe Geraghty series right here on the streets of Hull – the two bestselling authors have been showered with accolades and awards, but you wouldn’t think it to hear them. Incredibly likeable, open ,honest and straightforward about their work they delight, entertain and even thrill, the Hull Central Library crowd.

Between the three of them they talk TV adaptations with Val saying ‘First time I sat down with Robson and co. I thought these people really get it.’ She continues, ‘As long as the tone of the book is still there, and there is not a dislocation between the book and the television it works.’

You normally have to die before you get one of those

Reminding us that it doesn’t always work Val explains how Reg Hill did his best not to let any of his fellow authors see the first incarnation of the much loved Dalziel and Pascoe with by all people, Hale and Pace.

The two authors also discuss the importance of having standalone novels as well as the highly anticipated series of books, often featuring one detective.

Picture: Jerome Whittingham @Photomoments

Read the full article at humbermouth.com

Author’s Book Group meets Val McDermid…

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-19-10-31Words by LORAINE PATRICK
Photograph by FRAZER RICE

Earlier this year Val McDermid was honoured with an outstanding contribution to Crime Fiction award.

Previous winners of the prestigious title, given at the Theakstons Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, include Ruth Rendell, P.D. James and Reginald Hill. The Scots writer is up there with the best but a more down to earth woman you couldn’t wish to meet.

Read the full article (PDF)…

Val McDermid on PD James: ‘She faced the darkness head on’…

McDermid explains how PD James subverted the cosiness of golden-age crime fiction.

Like so many crime writers, PD James was drawn to her vocation out of love. Before she took up her pen, she was a keen reader of detective novels, and over her long career she remained fascinated by the so-called golden age that followed the end of the first world war.


But she was more than a fan. She applied her keen intelligence to what she read, and developed a genuine expertise on the subject. I once heard her lecture on the four “queens of crime” – Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy L Sayers – and she wrote a fascinating monograph on the subject, Talking About Detective Fiction. This love for the work of her predecessors is evident in a new collection of her short stories: she picks the pockets of the mechanics of golden age plotting; Agatha Christie is referenced several times; and there are knowing nods to the conventions of traditional, “cosy” mystery stories.

This appropriation of the conventions of the past sometimes misleads people into thinking of James as a cosy writer. The reality is that she is anything but, and she took on those conventions only to subvert them in an often witty way. One thing in particular sets her apart from the mainstream tradition of interwar English crime fiction, with its stately homes and bourgeois villages where reality never rears its ill-mannered head. She understands that murder is nasty and brutal, that it is fuelled by the most malevolent of motives, and she’s not afraid to face that darkness head on. Her understanding of what she often called “wickedness” is creepily accurate. There’s nothing cosy about the murders in her stories, however much their settings mimic those of their forerunners.

Photograph: PD James in 2003 Photograph: David Sandison/Rex

Read the full article on The Guardian website…

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