Regular readers will know that I like to get out and about and go to a few crime literature festivals across the year, and then report back here on some of the panels and some of the words spoken within them. Arguably the biggest is the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, held at the Old Swan hotel. One of my highlights every year at the festival is the New Blood panel, where crime writing legend, Val McDermid, hosts a panel comprising four authors who have published debut novels during the past year (or are about to publish). Val herself picks the panellists – which is a ringing endorsement in itself – and this year, the panel has been announced ahead of time.
British broadcaster UKTV – who numbers Alibi, Drama and W as part of its network of 10 channels – has announced that it has launched a brand-new crime podcast. A Stab In The Dark has an initial run of six episodes, and boasts award-winning crime writer Mark Billingham as its host. Read on for more!
For superb Scottish crime author Val McDermid, Dead Clever represents her second radio drama after last year’s Deadheading. Fitting snugly into Radio 4’s 15 Minute Drama slot, McDermid showcased her deftness in the genre, as well as all the warmth and humour we’ve come to expect and admire about her. That first instalment in the Dead… series (made by the always excellent Savvy Productions, makers of Craven) introduced us to down to earth DCI Alma Blair (Julie Hesmondhalgh) and her partner DS Jason Trotter (John Hollingworth), and the likeable pairing has returned for a new five-episode story, which has played out across this week.
Radio crime drama is something we’ve neglected a bit lately (quite a lot if I’m being honest), but when one pops up in the 15 Minute Drama slot on BBC Radio 4 that’s written by the ever-terrific Val McDermid, you have to sit up and take notice. The first episode of Dead Clever is now on the BBC iPlayer right now, with four more episodes to air during the week. Find out more after the jump.
Tucked away in the final quarter of Women’s Hour this morning (Monday 24th February) was the first 15-minute episode of a five-part drama that supposed something that, if ever proven correct, would send shockwaves through the literary and cultural worlds – that one of Britain’s favourite and most enduring novelists, Jane Austen, died at the hands of a murderer. That’s the conceit that best-selling crime writer Lindsay Ashford based her 2012 novel, The Mysterious Death Of Jane Austen, on. Now it’s been made into a radio drama, airing out every morning this week on Radio 4.