Bodies from the Library

I have been mixin’ with the nobs.

Not only did I go to the launch of Lissa Evans’s magnificent Old Baggage last week (see blogpost here) – I also spent the most wonderful day at the Bodies From The Library crime-writing conference at the British Library in London. You will know that Blood on the Tracksthe BL are responsible for those wonderful and very popular reprints of Golden Age crime stories – the ones with the great covers.

This event has been going on for a few years, but this is the first time I have made it: now I want to make it a definite fixture in every future year.  Imagine a room full of writers, readers and fans: all of them experts in the field of crime fiction. Such a good day…

I went to the even witht my good friend Christine Poulson, who was chairing a panel, and also met several people who I knew well, but only online. One was Martin Edwards, who has featured on the blog a lot over the years. Another was Kate Jackson of Cross-Examining Crime, who very handily has already posted a very full account of the day, which I do recommend, and makes me feel I can be less thorough.  (You can also see the full programme on this BftL webpage here)

The conference was an expertly planned and managed list of events. Everything was kept short and snappy – leaving you wanting more, which is better than the alternative. It was nicely varied from item to item, with changes of pace and subject and style, and incredibly efficiently done. Fantastic.

Here are some of my inexpert photos from the day:

short stories

A panel on short story anthologies, with Chrissie Poulson, Martin Edwards and Tony Medawar.

John Curran   folders
John Curran talking about the ‘crime files’ format which became popular in the 1930s.

Rachel Reeve
Rachel Reeve MP talked about Ellen Wilkinson, ground-breaking Labour MP and crime story author…

Panel Durbridge 1
Panel on that doyen of the 1950s and 1960s, Frances Durbridge – king of the TV crime thriller.

Jake Kerridge
Jake Kerridge talked about Michael Innes and his series detective Inspector John Appleby.

And the day ended with each of the speakers choosing a desert island detective…
Desert Island


  1. Oh, this sounds fabulous, Moira! Thanks for sharing both your memories and the 'photos. Lucky you that you got the chance to go! It does sound like it was a fantastic event.

    1. It was fabulous, I so enjoyed it. You will have to come over for it one year, Margot...

  2. So pleased you enjoyed your first BFTL conference and thanks for the in post mention. It was great to finally meet in person.

    1. Indeed, great to meet you and look forward to seeing you next year (if not before).

  3. Replies
    1. Next year in London Brad? We're counting on you to make the trip...

  4. Nice to (briefly) meet you, Moira. Glad you enjoyed the conference, it goes from strength to strength every year.

    1. Indeeed, and perhaps next year we can have a proper conversation! It was such fun, but just not enough time to talk to everyone...

  5. Sounds like a perfect day, Moira.

    1. It really was, I enjoyed it so much, I felt very lucky.


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