CAPITAL CRIME FESTIVAL, London 26 – 28 September 2019

The inaugural Capital Crime festival, founded by literary agent and owner of Goldsboro Bookshop David Headley together with author Adam Hamdy, took place last weekend at the Grand Connaught Rooms London. I was thrilled when Midas PR contacted me offering a press pass for the event and would like to say a huge thank you to them and to Capital Crime for the opportunity.

The ceiling in the Grand Hall

The festival began on Thursday night and it’s a definite thumbs up for the choice of venue – the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, it is such a beautiful building and the perfect venue for a festival with plenty of space. Thursday was more of a social event around the bar area, it was great to meet up with blogger friends old and new and then later in the evening it was time for the New Voices Awards – introduced by Adam Hamdy and David Headley. This was won by Ashley Harrison for ‘The Dysconnect’, with Honourable Mentions awarded to Patti Buff for ‘The Ice Beneath Me’ and Victoria Goldman for ‘The Redeemer’. Victoria is a book blogger and I was delighted to see her success.

I made sure I was at the event early on Friday morning in time for one of the first events of the day, The Influence of Agatha Christie, hosted by author L C Tyler. I didn’t take notes, perhaps I should have done, but I wanted to listen to the speakers without worrying about noting everything down. As I was trying to preserve my phone battery for the day, I couldn’t do constant live tweeting either (note to self-make sure to take a battery power pack next time!) but all the debates were lively and interesting and included questions from the audience.

The Interrogation of Mark Billingham was without a doubt the funniest panel of the day for me. It started off with Mark being interviewed as if he were a suspect in a police interview with lots of ‘no comments’ and then developed into a general discussion between the two authors before taking audience questions.

Each panel was so varied in tone and content – whether it was discussing the importance of Agatha Christie’s writing – to Mark Edwards declaring that his readers don’t like cats being harmed! – Ian Rankin declining an interview request from Ian Brady because he didn’t want to allow him into his head and S J Watson initially thinking that the offer for the film rights for Before I Go To Sleep was a wind up. The panels were only 50 minutes in total but I could easily have sat and listened to each one for longer.

Unfortunately, much to my disappointment, I wasn’t able to attend on the Saturday after all, but here is the programme. There were so many panels that I had earmarked to attend (and books I wanted to get signed!). Hopefully next time!

I loved the time I did spend at the festival and would definitely go again next year. The only thing I would do differently next time is to book a hotel. I decided to travel up each day from Essex – easy peasy I thought. I work in London anyway and do the daily commute (minus the underground) but at the end of a busy work week, I found the long journey each way exhausting, especially having to get up extra early to get to the early morning panel and I had forgotten about the hell of the Central line! By the Friday evening it wasn’t only my phone that had run out of battery power, so had I.

If you’re wondering whether to book next year, then my recommendation is do it. Bearing in mind this is its first year, I thought it was a fabulous event and congratulations and thank you to the organisers and everyone behind the scenes for making it such a great festival.

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