Saturday, December 30, 2006

Harrogate Crime Writing Festival 2007 - The Crown Hotel

The Harrogate Crime Writing Festival 2007 , which is to be held at the Crown Hotel , Harrogate, is now open for bookings.

I've booked my weekend pass, and have been doing a little research about the venue!

This hotel, which is currently undergoing extensive refurbishment, has very mixed reviews on Tripadvisor . It's obviously in dire need of the upgrades, with completion promised by the Spring of 2007. Let us hope that it'll all be done before we arrive in July! The refurbished room shown on the hotel website certainly seems pleasant.

The location can hardly be beat - in the centre of the town, right opposite the little Montpelier district with its unique, quirky shops and - most importantly - close to Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, for wonderful teas, buns and traditional English baking! I especially love their cinnamon toast, and pikelets (imagine a crumpet squashed by a steamroller, a little crispy and laden with butter -yum.....)

It's also not far from the station, for those coming by train, but parking at the hotel seems to be a little limited. There are shoppers car parks close by, and some on-street parking, but obviously Harrogate will be very busy in the middle of summer. Nonetheless, I hope to come by car, as I'm sure I'll be travelling home with many, many books, and don't fancy lugging them around on British Rail!

There isn't much information at the moment about the festival itself on the Festival website - hopefully there will be more shortly. Guest so far include Frederick Forsyth, Lee Child, Val McDermid, Harlan Coben, Laura Lippman and Natasha Cooper.

Jenni Murray, of BBC Radio 4's 'Woman's Hour' is shown as presenting some of the events including a conversation with Val McDermid. I wish her well in view of her current treatment for breast cancer, which she announced on the radio last week, and hope that she will indeed be in good health and able to attend the Festival.

More on this Festival as information becomes available!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Predictable fare : 'Wife Of Moon' by Margaret Coel

Welcome to a regular and idiosyncratic look at crime and mystery fiction from a very personal perspective. My first comment is on a book I bought in Orlando last Thursday and finished reading this afternoon: 'Wife Of Moon' by Margaret Coel.

Coel is listed under Wyoming at and this book is the tenth in her series of novels set on an Arapaho reservation, but the first I have read. Last November, when I was in New Mexico, I tried a Tony Hillerman, but to this UK reader much of that was difficult to follow. No such trouble with Coel, and the novel is quite nicely written.

Problem is, there are two strands of murders - one in 1907 and one contemporary. The murderer in the flashback strand is obvious by the end of the first chapter, and the likely villain of the contemporary strand blindingly clear by page 24.

I read on to the end, through twists and turns of plot which were reasonably interesting, hoping that I would be wrong, but unfortunately not. I prefer my mystery fiction to be a little less predictable - at least let me get halfway through the story before I'm sure whodunnit!