Crime Classics at the British Library

A collection of Crime Classics

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From the Golden Age to the present day. With Richard Coles, Martin Edwards, John Lee and Laura Wilson

Due to a significant technical problem, this event is no longer taking place at the Library, or live online.

A recording of the conversation will be made available to all bookers by the end of Monday 20 June at the latest and all those who have paid for tickets will be refunded.

All new bookings made before 19.00 on Friday 17 June will now be at no charge.

The recording of the event will be live captioned.

The British Library Crime Classics series has been a publishing sensation: hugely popular re-releases of British detective stories and good old-fashioned whodunits from the Golden Age of crime fiction.

As the series celebrates its 100th title – Death of a Bookseller (by Bernard J. Farmer, 1956) ) – our panel explores we explore some of its highlights and throws throw light on how the series is put together. With Crime Classics series consultant and crime writer Martin Edwards, British Library publisher John Lee and crime writer and Guardian reviewer Laura Wilson.

Its success also reflects the contemporary boom in ‘cosy crime’, the gentler but just as enjoyable end of the genre. One of the newest and most intriguing additions comes from Reverend Richard Coles who joins us to talk about his new novel Murder Before Evensong.

Reverend Richard Coles is an English musician, journalist, radio presenter and Church of England parish priest. Now vicar of Finedon in Northamptonshire, he was formerly the multi-instrumentalist who partnered Jimmy Somerville in the 1980s band the Communards. They achieved three top ten hits, including the No. 1 record and best-selling single of 1986, a dance version of “Don't Leave Me This Way”. Coles frequently appears on radio and television as well as in newspapers and, in March 2011, became the regular host of BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live programme. He is a regular contributor to QI, Would I Lie to You? and Have I Got News for You. He is an author, Chancellor of the University of Northampton, Honorary Chaplain to the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers, and a patron of social housing project Greatwell Homes in Wellingborough. 'Murder Before Evensong' is the first novel in the Reverend Richard Coles' Canon Clement Mystery series.

Martin Edwards is a crime fiction writer and authority who received the highest honour in UK crime writing the CWA Diamond Dagger, in 2020. His recent novels include Mortmain Hall and Gallows Court; the latter nominated for two awards and 2022 sees the publication of his ground-breaking history of the genre, The Life of Crime. In 2018 he received the CWA Dagger in the Library, awarded by UK librarians, for his body of work. He has won the Edgar, Agatha, Macavity (twice), and Poirot awards in the USA, and the CWA Short Story Dagger, CWA Margery Allingham Prize, and the H.R.F. Keating award (twice) in the UK. His latest Lake District Mystery is The Crooked Shore, published in 2021. The series began with The Coffin Trail (shortlisted for the Theakston’s prize for best British crime novel) and includes The Arsenic Labyrinth (shortlisted for the Lakeland Book of the Year award) and The Crooked Shore. His first series featuring Liverpool lawyer Harry Devlin began with ,i>All the Lonely People, nominated for the John Creasey Memorial Dagger, and has recently been reissued. The author of over 70 short stories, he has also edited 40 anthologies and published ten non-fiction books, including a study of crime scene investigation techniques and real life cases. A well-known critic and writer about the crime fiction genre, past and present, with The Golden Age of Murder exemplifying his knowledge of crime fiction and its authors in the 1920s and 1930s, Martin is President and Archivist of the world-famous Detection Club and a former Chair of the CWA. He is also series consultant to British Library’s highly successful series of crime classics, and has published The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books. and Howdunit, two more award-winning books. Martin is a founder member of the Murder Squad collective of northern crime writers and is currently Archivist of the Crime Writers’ Association and editor of its annual anthology.

Laura Wilson is a London-based author of thirteen acclaimed psychological crime novels. She reviews crime fiction for The Guardian and is co-programmer of Killer Women Festival. Her first novel, A Little Death was shortlisted for a CWA Dagger award, and her fifth, The Lover was short listed for both the CWA Gold Dagger and the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger. A Thousand Lies was shortlisted for the 2006 Duncan Lawrie Dagger and in 2008, she won the Ellis Peters Award with her novel Stratton’s War.

The event precedes the annual Bodies From the Library conference at the British Library on 18 June. 

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Name: Crime Classics at the British Library
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546