Maybe a few months old, but might be of interest to anyone who missed this on the old blog-site…

Martyn Waites, Simon Brett & Mark Billigham at Bromley Central Library.

I guess in many ways this was like a small shot in the arm for someone like me who is still on the downhill from the fantastic Harrogate Crime Writing Festival back in July.

A gathering of three of the names from that festival arrived in my home borough of Bromley on a Friday night to chat about and read from their latest novels, take questions from the audience and sign copies of their books.

I was pleased to see a reasonable turnout – around 40-50 people at a guess, and many of whom I believe are regulars to Bromley Library’s reading groups.

It was the usual mix of people, the majority being women of a certain age. With tea, coffee and biscuits included in the £2.50 ticket price there was no hanging around in the boozy vapours of the Harrogate festival bar here!

No, this was quite a different venue – when walking through the hall doors and being told the kettle was on I immediately knew I wasn’t in Yorkshire anymore and Theakstons’ Old Peculier was certainly not on tap.

And so, to a great evening’s entertainment as ever from all three authors – all of whom have acting/comedy backgrounds and so are great at public speaking before their readings.

Martyn Waites confessed to being a woman – which I think came as quite a shock to some in the audience until he placed the copy of his latest Tania Carver penned novel on the lectern. Mark Billingham was as entertaining as ever and Simon Brett gave a very funny reading from his latest novel too.

It’s always interesting to see how many stories these writers have when they appear – particularly as I’ve now seen Mark three times this year relating to his latest novel, From the Dead, but although inevitably some of the same anecdotes come out, there are always new ones to enjoy from all three authors.

And, as they all said, the meeting of the readers and talking to people at such events is the only time they really get to leave the house…

Thanks to Bromley Library for organising the evening – great stuff.

Came home with more lovely signed copies to put on my shelves (even if Martyn Waites did sign my Tania Carver book to me ‘With lots of love, Tania’ ☺) and a refreshed determination to get on with my own book.

Keith B Walters


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