Alibis in the Archive - SOLD OUT

Alibis in the Archive - SOLD OUT

Please note this event is now sold out.

An exciting new event at Gladstone’s Library in association with the Crime Writers’ Association and The Detection Club...

To celebrate the launch of a new Crime Writing Archive here at Gladstone’s Library, we’re delighted to be partnering with the team behind the hugely successful Bodies from the Library events at the British Library to bring you some of the UK’s most well-known crime writers and the most exciting contemporary crime fiction.

To view the full programme, please click here.


Ann Cleeves: Vera and Shetland: The World of Television Detectives

Ann Cleeve’s novels and short stories have made her one of Britain’s best known crime writers. In this talk about the incidents and people that led to the creation of Ann’s most popular characters, she explores the novels that led to Vera (ITV) and Shetland (BBC).

Ann grew up in Herefordshire and North Devon. After dropping out of university she worked as a child care officer, women’s refuge leader, bird observatory cook and auxiliary coastguard before going back to college to train to be a probation officer. Later she worked in public libraries. Now she is a full-time writer. Two of her series have been adapted for television (Vera for ITV and Shetland for the BBC) and her books have been translated into 30 languages. Ann won the CWA Gold Dagger for Raven Black and has been shortlisted for literary prizes in Sweden and Iceland. In 2016 the literature festival Iceland Noir presented her with an award for services to crime fiction. She has received an honorary doctorate from Sunderland University. Cold Earth, her most recent novel, is her 30th book.

David Brawn: Publishing Agatha Christie

When William Collins signed up Agatha Christie on 1st January 1924 to write three consecutive novels, little did either of them know that it would begin an author-publisher relationship that would last more than 50 years, and that this relationship would outlive them both by over 40 more years. Now David Brawn, Publisher of Agatha Christie for the last 20 years, looks back at those formative years and how Agatha Christie influenced a generation of publishing practice. And in the year that HarperCollins Publishers celebrates its bicentenary, he explores the role of authors’ and publishers’ archives in creating opportunities for new books, not just for Agatha Christie but for other authors who are now being rediscovered and republished.

David Brawn has been at HarperCollins for 30 years, more than 20 of which as Publisher of Agatha Christie and other literary estates, including Ngaio Marsh, Alistair MacLean, Desmond Bagley and also J.R.R. Tolkien. As well as managing Agatha Christie’s existing backlist, David has overseen the publication of unseen stories, play novelisations, continuity novels and biographies, as well as expansion into new formats including audiobooks and ebooks. He has compiled, edited and introduced a variety of books, including Agatha Christie’s Little Grey Cells: The Quotable Poirot, and in 2015 was responsible for relaunching Collins’ famous Crime Club, bringing many classic detective writers back into print, including books by Freeman Wills Crofts, Philip MacDonald, Anthony Berkeley, Edgar Wallace, J.Jefferson Farjeon and Francis Durbridge.

David Stuart Davies: A Fresh Look at Sherlock Holmes

David Stuart Davies presents the story of the great detective Sherlock Holmes along with his creator Arthur Conan Doyle. In a dramatic fashion Davies provides an informative, entertaining and revealing overview of these two fascinating characters.

David Stuart Davies is an author, playwright and editor. His fiction includes six novels featuring his wartime detective Johnny Hawke and seven Sherlock Holmes novels. He has also penned a trilogy of dark, gritty crime novels set in Yorkshire in the 1980s featuring DI Paul Snow. He is a committee member of the Crime Writers’ Association and edits their monthly publication Red Herrings. David is General Editor of Wordsworth’s Mystery & Supernatural series, a member of the Detection Club and a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund. David Stuart Davies is regarded as an authority on Sherlock Holmes and is the author of two Holmes plays, Sherlock Holmes: The Last Act and Sherlock Holmes: The Death and Life. His other Sherlock works include: Starring Sherlock Holmes, a survey of the detective’s film career and Bending the Willow, a record of Jeremy Brett’s time wearing the deerstalker. David has written the Afterwords for all the Collector’s Library Holmes volumes, as well as those for many of their other titles.

Stella Duffy: Ngaio Marsh

Based on four chapters and a few pages of notes from the novel in progress that Ngaio Marsh left unwritten in the 1940s, Stella is finishing Marsh’s ‘Money in the Morgue’ to be published in 2018. She will look at the challenges and pleasures of taking on another writer's characters and style, and consider how much there is to learn by abandoning the ego-focused idea of every writer having their own ‘voice’.

Stella Duffy has written 14 novels published in 15 languages, over 55 short stories, many of them broadcast on BBC Radio, and 10 plays. She is also a theatre director and the co-director of Fun Palaces, the campaign for community-led cultural engagement and inclusion, empowering local people to both participate in and lead their own arts, science, craft and tech events. Stella is a member of the Detection Club and proud to be a trustee of Gladstone’s Library.

Kate Ellis: Digging up the Past - Archaeology and Crime Fiction

Kate Ellis is well-known for writing contemporary novels with an historical twist and she will talk about how she uses history and archaeology in her novels and how parallels between past and present inspire her writing. Recently she has a published A High Mortality of Doves (the first book in a trilogy set in the aftermath of the First World War) and she will talk about how she became absorbed in a research process that eventually became personal.

Kate Ellis was born and brought up in Liverpool and studied drama in Manchester. Before ‘turning to crime’ she first enjoyed literary success as winner of the North West Playwrights Competition in 1990. Her keen interest in history and archaeology features strongly in her books. Described by The Times as ‘a beguiling author who interweaves past and present’ she has written 21 novels featuring black archaeology graduate, DI Wesley Peterson and five crime novels with a supernatural twist featuring DI Joe Plantagenet (as well as an historical mystery, The Devil’s Priest, set in Tudor Liverpool). She also writes short stories and has been shortlisted twice for the CWA Short Story Dagger. Her latest Wesley Peterson novel is The Mermaid’s Scream and her latest in the Plantagenet series is Walking by Night. The first novel in a new trilogy set in the aftermath of the First World War, A High Mortality of Doves, was published in November 2016. 

Martin Edwards: The Detection Club and the CWA: Criminally Good Social Networks

The Detection Club is a legendary dining club for crime writers, founded in 1930 by such luminaries as G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie. The Crime Writers’ Association, founded by John Creasey in 1953, is one of the world’s leading groups for professional writers. Martin Edwards, President of the Club and Chair of the CWA, talks with unique insight about both of them.

Martin Edwards is the author of 18 novels, including the Lake District Mysteries and the Harry Devlin series. The Coffin Trail was shortlisted for the Theakston’s Prize for Crime Novel of the Year, while All the Lonely People was nominated for the John Creasey Memorial Dagger for best first crime novel. He has edited 30 crime anthologies, has won the CWA Short Story Dagger and the CWA Margery Allingham Prize, and is series consultant for the British Library’s Crime Classics. His non-fiction books include the award-winning The Golden Age of Murder and The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books. He has been elected Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association as from April 2017, and has received the Red Herring award for services to the CWA. In 2015, he was elected eighth President of the Detection Club. He is also archivist for both the CWA and the Detection Club.

Rob Davies: The British Library and Detective Fiction

The British Library Crime Classics have become a word-of-mouth success since the first book was published in 2012. Almost 50 classic works of British crime fiction have been republished so far – and several have become bestsellers. The series has helped to drive a renaissance of interest in golden age crime, giving readers a taste of the genre beyond the famous ‘crime queens’ such as Agatha Christie. Writers such as John Bude, J. Jefferson Farjeon and George Bellairs have been rediscovered and their books, out of print for decades, are now enjoyed by thousands of readers. Find out more about the British Library’s unique collection of crime fiction, the rare books it has have republished, and novels and authors it will be introducing in future.

Rob Davies has worked as an editor for 10 years, specialising in books on art and design before he moved to the British Library in 2013. He is Editorial Manager of the Library’s publishing programme, and looks after the Crime Classics series: selecting forgotten books from the Library’s vast collection, and reintroducing neglected crime novels to contemporary readers.

Kate Charles: The Clerical Detective: From Father Brown to Sidney Chambers

Crime novels set in and around churches, cathedrals and monasteries are not a new phenomenon – they are practically as old as the genre itself, and far more numerous than most people imagine. Among these hundreds of books are a large number featuring clergy as detective characters. Kate Charles explores the strange affinity between the church and crime, and introduces a variety of sleuthing priests, monks, nuns, ministers and rabbis who populate this sub-genre, from Father Brown to Sidney Chambers. 

Kate Charles has published 12 crime novels set against the background of the Church of England, including the Book of Psalms series and a further series featuring London curate Callie Anson. Something of an expert on the sub-genre of ‘clerical crime’, Kate has given numerous lectures on the subject and has written about it for the Church Times. She is a past Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Barbara Pym Society. As a member of the Detection Club she has contributed to two recent club publications, The Sinking Admiral and Motives for Murder. For 23 years, Kate was co-organiser of the St Hilda’s Mystery and Crime Conference, held annually in Oxford; in recognition she was awarded the George N. Dove Award in 2012 for her ‘outstanding contribution to the serious study of mystery and crime fiction’. Kate lives on the English side of the Welsh Borders. Her latest novel is False Tongues, some of it written at Gladstone’s Library.

Linda Stratmann: The Secret Poisoner

Murder by poison alarmed, enthralled, and in many ways encapsulated the Victorian age, a time when cause of death was hard to define and it was feared that many murders went unpunished. The Nineteenth Century was a gruesome battleground where poisoners went head-to-head with authorities who strove to detect poisons, control their availability, and bring the guilty to justice. In this talk, Linda Stratmann describes the murder cases that inspired scientific advances, led to changes in the law, and made celebrities out of forensic toxicologists. But as poisoners met greater obstacles and increased risks, so they had to become more cunning in order to evade justice, and when science and the law collided, a day in court could ruin an acclaimed expert’s career.

Linda Stratmann is the author of 13 non-fiction books mainly about true crime, but also including a history of chloroform, Chloroform the Quest for Oblivion, a study of the Illustrated Police News and an acclaimed biography, The Marquess of Queensberry: Wilde’s NemesisThe Secret Poisoner, a history of Nineteenth Century poison murders was chosen as the Radio 2 Book Club non-fiction book of the week in 2016. Linda also writes crime fiction with a Victorian setting. The popular Frances Doughty mysteries are set in Bayswater and feature a determined young female sleuth and her stalwart assistant, Sarah, who have to combat both wily criminals and prejudice against lady detectives. In 2015 Linda launched a new fiction series set in 1870s Brighton, whose heroine Mina Scarletti is a writer of ghost stories who exposes the activities of fraudulent spirit mediums.

Reside with the above in what promises to be a truly unmissable weekend!

Booking is now open. Alternatively, please get in touch to register your interest and be among the first to receive the full programme.

Residential prices start from £255, non-residential from £90. This is an all-inclusive special rate.

For more information or to book, please call 01244 532350 or email

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