Though the page has turned for this year’s Harrogate Crime Writers’ Festival, we wanted to shine a light on our involvement.
One of the most respected literary festivals in Yorkshire, the Harrogate event is traditionally sponsored by Theakston’s Old Peculier. Taking place over a number of days, it brings reader and writer together, with plenty of household names giving talks and interviews.
So, why were Think Forensic in the library, with the blood spatter ‘head’, and a body on the floor? Publisher Pan MacMillan invited us to set up a crime scene at the Old Swan Hotel; the plot for the day was based upon Ann Cleeve’s book ‘The Moth Catcher’, featuring her trusty stalwart ‘Vera Stanhope’, who greeted all would-be detectives on the day.
The event, running every hour, was sold out in minutes.
Donning their white suits, gloves and masks, Vera’s team of new detectives were broken in when stood over the first body. Our experts explained typical procedure at crime scenes then participants were moved on to various splashes of blood and UV technology. Fingerprints were lifted and casts made of the suspect’s footprints.
For the writers visiting our crime scenes, the chance to ask our experts specific questions brought a new element to, and injected realism into, their writing. Long gone are the days when you could collar your local bobby to help you ensure your telling of an arrest was authentic, or for intricate aspects of a criminal case, or a bird’s nest view of courtroom proceedings. For many, taking part in events like these gives as much insight into a crime without having to actually commit one.
We’re looking to work with more publishers and festivals, to bring the same insights to fellow would-be writers. The genre of crime-writing is huge, and true crime in particular is seeing a massive surge, with shows and books like ‘Making a Murderer’, featuring the case of Steven Avery – Netflix’s biggest success. 19 million people watched the first series and another one is underway. Crime, it seems, still fascinates us.
We’ve recently moved into the world of words, after adding ‘Forensic Linguistics’ to our range of workshops. Because we now have a resident writing coach and editor working with us, we plan to hold specialist author events, bringing both literary consultancy and accurate criminal procedure to writers everywhere. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like adding to this mailing list.
Vera Stanhope’s detectives took their own photos of the crime scenes, a couple of which we’ve included.