First Monday Crime – November

It was so packed that I couldn’t get any decent photos of the authors! But here’s the goodie bag from Headline with Wildfire chocolate – it really was! Chilli!

Well, it may have been cold outside but we were cosy inside as The Library was packed! The authors were Belinda Bauer, Adam Hamdy, Jenny Blackhurst and Cathi Unsworth, with Barry Forshaw facilitating the conversation.

So a little bit about the authors and their books.

Adam Hamdy previously had a career in finance before becoming a script writer and now novelist. When he decided to write a book, he set himself the task of writing a novel in 30 days and the result was Battalion, his first book. Pendulum, his current novel, starts with a man with a noose around his neck and explores the dark depths of the internet.

Belinda Bauer won the CWA Gold Dagger Award for her first novel, Blacklands. Her latest book, The Beautiful Dead, features Eve Singer, a TV crime journalist, and a killer who thinks he’s an artist.

Jenny Blackhurst’s new book is Before I Let You In. Her debut, How I Lost You dealt with the trauma of postnatal psychosis and her new story stays with a psychological theme. This time toxic relationships are explored and in particular, the relationship between a psychiatrist and her patient.

Cathi Unsworth’s latest book is Without The Moon. Set in 1942, it explores the people in the smokey underworld of the Blitz. A former music journalist, Cathi Unsworth loves nostalgia and sets her books during different periods of the 20th century.

The questions from Barry Forshaw were mainly informal but there was one question that stood out for me – Is crime writing a good prism to view society?

For Adam Hamdy – yes! Crime writing allows for the extreme edges or margins of society. As his book looks at the internet, he sees that more and more people are being fooled and conned into trusting people online.

As Cathi’s latest book is set during WW2, she’s being using crime to look at the hard left and the hard right of politics as well as antisemitism that occurred during that period. Worryingly, it seems as though society may not have learned any lessons.

Jenny likes to reflect the lives we live and society today. Her book isn’t about extremes; much more domestic and could happen to anyone!

Belinda likes to have a different agenda for each book and to make it count. If she could write a book as good as a David Bowie song then she’d be happy!

SJI Holliday was in the audience and asked the authors what was their favourite thing they’ve learned from researching for their novels.

Jenny loves psychology so she enjoys understanding people.

Adam loves researching and recently went to a visit a gunsmith in Shropshire to find out how guns are made.

Belinda learnt how to skin a calf!

Cathi found out that a friend of her grandfather’s caught a German spy.

Daniel Pembrey also asked a question about the authors’ current works in progress  (rumour has it that he might be taking part in next month’s First Monday Crime as he was spotted trying out the chairs!)

Jenny wasn’t allowed to tell us but apparently she may drip feed words into her tweets to give us a clue.

Adam is phenomenally busy writing the sequel to Pendulum and the screenplay for it, as well as an original TV series!

Belinda has started writing her next book but didn’t want to jinx it by saying anymore.

Cathi is writing a homage to Dennis Wheatley.

And so First Monday Crime ended for November. Make sure you book early for December as tickets were sold out this month. And on the plus side, the Christmas tree will be up in Trafalgar Square and the lights on in Regent St and Oxford St so you could make a real evening of it. We’ll just have to wait and see what presents First Monday Crime have lined up for us next month!


To find out more about the authors and buy their books:

For Cathi Unsworth click here

For Belinda Bauer click here

For Jenny Blackhurst click here

For Adam Hamdy click here


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