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Tuesday 25 November 2008

Heffers - Crimecrackers

On Wednesday 19th I had an enjoyable evening at the great Heffers Bookshop in Trinity Street, Cambridge, where I had been invited by Richard Reynolds to meet the Crimecrackers Reading Group and to talk about The Maze of Cadiz.

It was good to meet a group of people enthusiastic about reading and with varied ideas about what constitutes a satisfying book. Does the fascination lie in seeing how all the pieces of a puzzle fit together? Is it important for good to triumph and the bad to be punished, settling the world into a safe place once more? What is the role of fear? Is it, as in a child’s fairy tale, that we like to be frightened – but in a comfortable, controlled setting where the fear is dispelled when all comes right and we close the book?

Several people said that they didn’t like reading about real crimes. But how much reality did they want in the stories they read? Is it important to feel that the story might really have happened? Do you want a book to make you consider questions about yourself and your possible reactions to circumstances? Or are you reading for a respite from reality?

These are some of the topics that were raised during the evening – food for reflection for both reader and writer.

Not everyone had read The Maze of Cadiz yet, but I am grateful to those who showed appreciation of my young protagonist Peter Cotton, interest in the background and setting of the story and curiosity about how he would develop in future books. Thank you, too, to the Crimecracker who said the beginning of the book reminded him of The Quiet American. It’s nice to feel that people are tuned in to what you write.

A number of people asked how they could contact me when they had finished reading the book. You can, of course, post a comment on this blog, but you can also contact me at the following email address: .

You will find also find this email address on the contact page on my website – as well as other things to explore. I will be delighted to receive any feedback from you – and will respond and answer any questions just as soon as I can.

So, thank you Pippa, Richard from Edinburgh, Jane and all the rest of the Crimecrackers, for allowing me to be part of your meeting on Wednesday. Special thanks, too, to Richard Reynolds for inviting me in the first place!


Richard said...

Ooh! Name-checked. I've just bumped you up my To Be Read pile for that. I'm wading my way through a biography of John Knox and a book called The Witches of Warboys. I'll need something completely different after that.

Thank you for coming to Crime Crackers. It's good to have a captive writer. You said it was your first ever event, but it seemed as if you'd been talking to people about your book for quite a while. It's also unusual for a writer to ask what else we read. I'm certain some of them have egos so fragile they couldn't bear the thought of us reading anything else.

I'm now really looking forward to reading the book - I've not just gone and put it on e-bay.

Aly Monroe said...

Thanks for your comments, Richard - and I'm so pleased you have held on to your copy of The Maze of Cadiz!