When Bloody Scotland is over and your thoughts turn to where to get your next crime fix, where do you go? There are, of course lots of book festivals out there, and great new ones arriving every day, such as Noireland.
But if you are looking for something that no other crime festival can give you, a more relaxed and close up and personal approach to crime writing, there can be no better place to look than Grantown-on-Spey in the Highlands of Scotland.
The programme has now been unveiled and I am pure dead chuffed that Caro Ramsay has written an article for this blog on what makes The Wee Crime Festival, now in its fifth year, quite so special.
So over to you, Caro:
‘The Wee CrimeFest 2017’ at Grantown-on-Spey, Highlands
There are crime writing festivals and there are crime writing festivals.
And then there’s the Wee festival up at Grantown on Spey. Bouchercon, in Long Beach, California, has its charm (and sunshine), Bloody Scotland may have a torchlight procession and the McIlvanney Award, but Grantown has a dark, misty charm all of its own.
It is quite simply unique with its friendliness and intimate setting.
The location, tucked away in the Spey Valley at the foot of the Cairngorms, lends itself to dark deathly deeds during long cold nights of merriment, laughter… and the odd dram or two. It’s a ‘wood burning stove and poison in the porridge’ kind of festival.
For me though, the village lost a lot of its charm when the Gorilla disappeared off the high street (don’t ask).
Crime writers who have attended have enjoyed the individuality of the events and the intimacy of the venues so much that it’s now an annual fixture in their busy diaries. All brought together by she who goes by the name of ‘Wee Marj’.
The festival normally takes place around Halloween, which lends itself to the surreal plotting of the murder of the Kardashian clan over an excellent smoked salmon and scrabbled egg breakfast. I turned up one year in fancy dress and the only person who noticed was my mother in law.
This year, the festival is closer to Guy Fawkes night, so I’m bringing my fire extinguisher. I know what Douglas Skelton and Michael Malone can be like. I’m taking no chances…
And then there was the magnificence of Carry On Sleuthing, ‘Death On The Ocean Wave’. At one point the audience were crying with laughter at Michael’s Yorkshire accent. Or just crying to get out.
This year sees the inaugural performance of Carry on Sleuthing 2, ‘Murder at the Knickerage’. I’ve read the script. It’s funny.
And in amongst all that we’ll be discussing all things criminal – murder and mayhem, shooting and stabbing – everything a fan of crime fiction could want. So, come along and enjoy it. You won’t be disappointed.
You can see the full programme here