It seemed more like February than June as we gathered together for First Monday Crime. Thankfully, the welcome inside for our four fabulous authors was a lot more welcome. Joining us was Abir Mukherjee, Ruth Ware, James Oswald and debut author, Imran Mahmood. The inimitable Barry Forshaw was in charge of the evening.
Abir Mukherjee is an accountant by profession from Scotland. His first book, A Rising Man, was the start of a series set in India during the period between the two world wars, when the UK still occupied it. His new book, A Necessary Evil, continues the story of Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-Not’ Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force.
The film rights for Ruth Ware’s debut, A Dark, Dark Wood, were bought by Reese Witherspoon and is about a hen night that goes very, very wrong. Someone described the book as ‘does for friendship what Gone Girl did for marriage’. Ruth’s second book was Woman in Cabin 10 and her latest is The Lying Game, published on the 15th June. It’s about four old school friends who reunite after their time at boarding school.
James Oswald is a farmer by day and a writer by night. As he said himself, there’s not much that can be done on a farm after dark – not that’s legal anyway! Initially self-published, James writes two books a year. His latest in the Inspector McLean series is Written In Bones.
Imran Mahmood seemed very much at home in the old magistrate’s court at Brown’s. You Don’t Know Me is the barrister’s debut novel. Set in a court room, the book is the closing speech from the defendant. In a sense, the character is based on all the people that Imran has represented but is nameless.
Barry asked what writers have influenced the panel. Are there any ‘ghosts’ behind their writing?
Agatha Christie is an influence for Ruth Ware and people have commented on that. Although, as Ruth pointed out, her characters swear more and get very drunk. As she has small children, Ruth has little time for research so an amateur detective character is much easier to write than looking up police procedural.
For Amir, he’s more influenced by living writers such as Philip Kerr and Ian Rankin. Although William McIlvanney was a huge influence on him too.
Imran’s book is about gangs so naturally, his influence is Enid Blyton – very dark and the Famous Five is basically a street gang.
James likes to put the ghosts in his novels as the supernatural plays a part in his books. As he started off writing comic and Sci Fi, Stan Lee and Iain Banks have been influential.
There was a question from the audience asking what’s the hardest part about writing.
Both James and Ruth agreed that the hardest part is when self-doubt kicks in around the 30k mark in a manuscript.
For Imran, editing is the hardest part. It’s easy to lose the thread of the story as you make changes.
Amir chose guilt. As he’s still working full-time as an accountant, he feels guilty about the time he spends away from his family as he writes in the evenings and weekends.
And so, First Monday Crime came to a close. I’m not sure yet about details for July but if you can’t wait that long for your crime fix, then Crime in the Court is on Thursday 29th June at Goldsboro Books. Come along and meet some of your favourite crime authors. I went last year and loved it. Sadly I can’t make it this time (I’m not sobbing, really). Tickets are £5 and can be bought here.
To find out more about the authors and buy/pre order their books:
For Abir Mukherjee, click here
For Ruth Ware, click here
For James Oswald, click here
For Imran Mahmood, click here