Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crime Watch; A Different Kind of Festival Is Coming Our Way and It Will Start with a Crime Scene. Laura Fraine Investigates BOOKS

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crime Watch; A Different Kind of Festival Is Coming Our Way and It Will Start with a Crime Scene. Laura Fraine Investigates BOOKS

Article excerpt

More than 100 crime writers and crime fiction fans from around the country will come together in Newcastle in June for a different kind of writing festival.

Instead of author talks, at Crime Story it will be real-life detectives, forensic scientists, lawyers and pathologists leading most of the discussions.

The concept was developed in partnership by New Writing North and Northumbria University, with the original Crime Story taking place in 2014. That event proved so successful that they decided to make it a biennial outing.

The idea of the festival is to provide crime writers and readers with the kind of access to experts that most of us could only dream of. The likes of Peter James and Linda La Plante might have a friendly copper at the end of the phone ready to answer their every question. But the rest of us? No chance.

At Crime Story, you can ask a forensic scientist what formation the blood spatter would take depending on the impact of a blow. Or find out from a Northumbria Police crime scene manager exactly what he is looking for in those crucial first minutes Mari Hannah and the steps he takes to find it. Or even invite a digital expert to reveal the kind of evidence your smartphone holds about your movements.

It's little surprise that crime writers took to the idea two years ago.

But with the rise of series like Serial and Making a Murderer, it's clear that it's not just writers who are interested in the juicy details - and crime fiction fans also make up a big part of the festival audience.

Writer Paula Hawkins, author of number one bestseller The Girl on the Train, was in the audience at Crime Story 2014. This year, following in the footsteps of Ann Cleeves, she has written an exclusive crime scenario, which the professionals and the audience will attempt to solve over the course of the day. …

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