With the very best in home grown and international crime fiction, a courtroom drama, poison cocktails, music and murder mystery escape games, Granite Noir, Aberdeen’s International Crime Writing Festival, returns to the city next week. Now in its fourth year, Granite Noir is inspired by the Granite city – its history, its atmosphere and its strong sense of place – and events run from Thursday 20 to Sunday 23 February in interesting, quirky and unusual spaces across the city offering an arresting line-up for all crime fans.
Crime fiction’s popularity lies in its ability to tackle many topical issues and prick our social conscience. Headlining Granite Noir 2020 are the legendary American author Sara Paretsky, Norway’s best-selling female crime writer Anne Holt, Ben Aaronovitch, author of the hugely popular Rivers of London urban fantasy series and Scotland’s own Ian Rankin who makes his first appearance at the Festival in conversation with comedian Phill Jupitus. The North of Scotland’s connection with Scandinavia is reinforced with appearances from Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic writers and home-grown talent includes conversations with Denise Mina, Helen Fitzgerald and Ambrose Parry.
Crime Fiction is only one element of the exciting events in a packed Granite Noir Programme. Non-fiction events include conversations with three of Britain’s most renowned forensic scientists who advise both the Police and crime writers and Robert Jeffrey who explores the remarkable story of Peterhead Prison, a truly grim institution with a fearsome reputation. Using original records from Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire Archives, Outcasts: Women, Crime and Society, a free exhibition at the Music Hall and Lemon Tree, examines our morbid fascination with female criminals and looks as far back as the witchcraft paranoia around Aberdeen during the 1590s.
Criminally good music events include Phill Jupitus and Ian Rankin spinning tunes from their own collections and David Holmes, a Belfast-born DJ and composer and the winner of a BAFTA for his score for the Killing Eve BBC TV series, who is joined by journalist Tom Morton to discuss his life and work and Stuart Cosgrove who discusses the surprising link between soul music and murder.
The fun and games continue with The Locked Door: Murder at the Movies escape room where participants revisit the crime scene, collect clues and solve puzzles to crack the case. Film screenings, performances of Dial M For Murder starring Tom Chambers and Christopher Harper, writing workshops, an evening of Gin and Sin, local history walks and talks, a Poison Cocktail Party and Poisoned High Tea complete the line-up of events for adults.
Little Detectives can enjoy Monstrously Funny Adventures with Justin Davies and his adventurous character Alice MacAlister as she meets some hilariously scary monsters – and learn how to howl like a werewolf (in English, French and maybe even Doric) or join the CSI: Crime Squirrel Investigators with author and CBeebies screenwriter Emily Dodd as she explains how to identify different animals, and invites children to take part in the woodpecker hip hop track as she sings, raps and plays guitar.
Go here for the full programme