Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival… It’s nearly here!!!

Category: News

Killerreads Crime Ad FINAL

The biggest crime fiction festival in the WORLD kicks off tomorrow, and excitement levels are rising!

As I write this, and as you read it, some of the best & brightest authors in the land are making their way to Harrogate. Some from other lands too – Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls, is flying in from South Africa tomorrow, and will be joined on her panel South of the Equator by antipodeans Helen Fitzgerald & Michael Robotham. This one is taking place on Saturday at 3.30pm.

On Friday, Andrew Taylor (who has just been awarded the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger for an unprecedented third time!) is taking part in a discussion of Victorian Crime: Fact or Fiction, chaired by Sarah Pinborough at 12pm.

On Friday night at 10pm, Charles Cumming will chair a panel for Fleming Fans, featuring Sam Bourne (pseudonym for Jonathan Freedland), JJ Connolly and Gregg Hurwitz. Late night chat amongst Bond fans… sure to be a lark!

On Saturday night, lucky fans get the chance to mingle with their favourite authors at a celebratory themed James Bond Murder Mystery Dinner. It’s 007 Style in honour of the 60th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel Casino Royale. Charles Cumming and SJ Parris are among the author hosts.

Finishing up for HC on Sunday morning we have the legendary Stuart MacBride taking part in the intriguingly entitled panel Slaughtering the Sacred Cows, chaired by Mark Lawson at 10am. Some members of the audience may be blurry eyed, but have no fear, Stuart is worth the effort!

If you are planning to be at the festival at all, please do let us know – we’d love to catch up! For those who can’t make it this time, rest assured I’ll be tweeting live from the event to keep you in the loop.

The Ponderings of a Heretic…Part 3

Category: News

After the – apparently – bloodthirsty nature not only of my last couple of blogs, but also of my recent conversations with friends, I have decided that it is probably in the best interests of my immortal soul to try to avoid talking about torture or execution.

Thus I shall pull on my metaphorical tweed jacket with the natty leather elbow patches that seemed to be the obligatory uniform of my history teachers at school and hopefully impart some of my newly found ‘knowledge’.

The Roman Inquisition [which was officially known as the Congregation of the Holy Office of the Inquisition – a mouthful of a name if ever there was one] was one of three inquisitions that ran almost contemporaneously from the late fifteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century. The other two were the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions – both of which were run under the authority of their respective monarchs, unlike the Roman Inquisition which was directly controlled by the Vatican.

In S.J. Parris’s novel Heresy it is this Roman Inquisition that the main character Giordano Bruno is trying to escape from after being accused of heresy. Ironically, the Dominican Order that Bruno belongs to were renowned for their anti-heresy stance and many of the inquisitors were taken from their ranks, making Bruno’s views [I am not scientifically gifted but he seems to have been in favour of the Copernican model of the cosmos] even more shocking.

It remains a mystery as to whether these inquisitors were chosen or volunteered [because I couldn’t find anything about it on the internet, rather than because it is an actual mystery – I’m sure that there are many enthralling historical books devoted to the topic], and also how they reconciled their faith with the brutal physical and mental suffering that they caused to those accused of heresy.

Lucky I didn’t become a teacher is all I can say; although, if I had then it would probably have made a dent in the league table!