Plotting the Perfect Crime: A Crime Writing Exhibition from the British Archive for Contemporary Writing

This year’s crime writing exhibition from the British Archive for Contemporary Writing reveals the intricate planning behind some of our greatest contemporary crime novels, with material from Val McDermid, Stuart MacBride and Robert Edric – author of a crime trilogy set in Hull, this year’s City of Culture.

Here, UEA archivist Justine Mann, introduces her personal highlights.

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North Sea Noir

Nick Quantrill is the author of the Joe Geraghty trilogy – Broken Dreams (2010), The Late Greats (2012) and The Crooked Beat (2013) – in addition to Bang Bang You’re Dead (2012) and The Dead Can’t Talk (2016). He lives in Hull.

There’s something about places next to water which gives them a different resonance. Whether that’s through geography and landscape, or the often transient nature of populations and goods, dark thoughts and deeds often come to the fore. They’re different in feel and tone, and that makes them fertile ground for crime writers.

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Fresh Blood!

Ayo Onatade is a freelance crime fiction critic and commentator. She reviews, writes, interviews and blogs on all things crime fiction related. Find her @shotsblog.


I am fairly certain that all debut writers get the jitters when it comes to people reading their work or when they are in a room full of people about to be probed as to why they wrote the novel, why that particular genre and if the book is in fact any good.

This year I shall be interviewing three different crime writers whose debut novels have all been making major waves within the crime fiction community for various reasons for the Fresh Blood event at the Noirwich Crime Writing Festival. Continue reading

Crossing the divide

Harriet Tyce considers the long and complicated relationship between crime and literary fiction.


The divide between crime and ‘literary’ fiction goes way back. Dorothy B. Hughes wrote In a Lonely Place in 1947, and it’s a masterpiece, in my view.  The first example of narration from the point of view of a serial killer, written at least five years before Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me, it would not surprise me at all to discover that Patricia Highsmith borrowed much inspiration from the anti-hero, Dix Steele, in her creation of Tom Ripley. Continue reading