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Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Crime Scene

Louise Phillips

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The undisputed ‘Queen of Crime’, Scottish legend Val McDermid today reveals her top four ‘ones to watch’ of crime fiction – all of whom will join her coveted ‘New Blood’ panel at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival on Saturday 24 July.

Since 2004, best-selling Scottish author of the Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series Val McDermid has curated an annual celebration of the most formidable debuts taking the crime and thriller genre by storm at the world’s largest and most prestigious crime fiction festival.

 The unveiling of McDermid’s selection has become one of the most anticipated moments of the publishing calendar, with readers on the lookout to uncover their new favourite author and add the ‘next big thing’ to their bookshelves.

 This year, Greg Buchanan has been selected for his dark and haunting debut novel Sixteen HorsesLara Thompson is on the list for her atmospheric portrait of crime in the Big Apple during the Great Depression titled One Night, New YorkPatricia Marques is recognised for her genre-bending fantasy-crime crossover The Colours of Death; and concluding this year’s New Blood contingent is Anna Bailey with her nuanced thriller exploring the depths of male violence against women, Tall Bones.

The unveiling of McDermid’s selection has become a must for crime fans, with readers on the lookout to uncover their new favourite author and add the ‘next big thing’ to their bookshelves. The hotly tipped emerging ‘New Blood’ authors are:

·       Sixteen Horses by Greg Buchanan (Mantle)

·       One Night, New York by Lara Thompson (Virago)

·       The Colours of Death by Patricia Marques (Hodder)

·       Tall Bones by Anna Bailey (Doubleday)


Val McDermid said: “Murder and mayhem – on page and on screen, have become our staple diet during the past year-and-a-half of lockdowns. It’s with genuine pleasure that I invite these four extraordinarily talented authors to join me to discuss not just their unique stories and styles but also what makes a good crime novel great and why do we turn to this genre in times of trouble?”


Former ‘New Blood’ alumni include Clare Mackintosh, SJ Watson, Stuart MacBride, Liam McIlvanney and Belinda Bauer, as well as two of the authors vying for the title of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2021: Abir Mukherjee and Trevor Wood.


As part Harrogate International Festivals’ year-round programme of events, each year the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival welcomes the world’s famous authors each year to Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel – the scene of Agatha Christie’s mysterious disappearance in 1926 – for a celebration of the crime genre like no other.  


This year’s instalment will take place from 22- 25 July with a stellar programme from Rebus author Ian Rankin OBE. Special Guests for 2021 include producer and presenter Richard Osman with the second instalment in his record-breaking cosy crime caper The Thursday Murder Club series; espionage expert Mick Herron, author of the highly acclaimed Slough House series; mystery maestro Elly Griffiths and her latest Ruth Galloway whodunnit; fan favourite Vera and Shetland author Ann Cleeves; the masterful Mark Billingham with his Tom Thorne prequel Cry Baby. The festivities will continue with four days of unmissable talks and panels from crime writing royalty – such as the queens of domestic noir Clare Mackintosh and CL Taylor in conversation.


For further information about how Harrogate International Festivals will deliver a safe Festival in line with the government regulations at the time, please visit www.harrogateinternationalfestivals.com.

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