Crime writers at Scarborough’s Books by the Beach: trailer for The Widow tipped as ‘thriller of the year’

Hugh Fraser
Hugh Fraser

This April’s Books By The Beach has got a great rosta of established and new crime writers, according to the Scarborough book festival’s co-directors, Heather French and Peter Guttridge.

The established include MC Beaton, creator of Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin; Peter James, whose Roy Grace novels have sold in their millions around the world and who is this year’s Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger recipient; Christopher Fowler, whose Bryant and May period detective series is both thrilling and witty; and David Stuart Davies, one of the world’s leading experts on Sherlock Holmes.

“But it’s the new names we’re particularly excited about,” said Heather French.

“News at Ten have tipped Fiona Barton’s The Widow as thriller of the year. She’s going to be doing a really interesting event with former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis, who will be talking about her bestselling debut crime novel The Butcher’s Hook. That’s going to be chaired by crime expert and festival favourite, Barry Forshaw.”

Peter, a crime writer and former Observer critic, said: “What’s also interesting – and encouraging – about the success Fiona and Janet are already having is that these debut novelists have been published at a relatively late stage in their lives.

“For years the trend has been for crime publishers to prefer younger writers because they figure they are a better long term investment. But Fiona and Janet’s success demonstrate that quality is all that really counts.”

Janet Ellis

Janet Ellis

Other crime fiction highlights include Hugh Fraser, actor turned writer.

Peter said: “His Harm is a tough thriller that isn’t at all what you might expect from Captain Hastings – the character Hugh is perhaps best known for playing on television.”

Heather said: “While her writing is un-categorisable – she came to Books By The Beach last year to talk about the Norse myths, for instance – it will be interesting to hear what Joanne Harris has to say when she discusses Different Class, her foray into crime fiction, with her friend, Christopher Fowler. In fact it would be criminal to miss it.”