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I just wanted to note that by one of those extraordinary coincidences emeralds – the subject of part of Jill Paton Walsh’s talk at St Hildas (see )  and set to form a part of her latest Wimsey continuation book – have turned up again as a central leitmotif in Thomas Ellroy’s masterpiece Blood’s A Rover (my review of which might be turning up on Reviewing the Evidence sometimes soon). Read the rest of this entry »

Session 2

Martin Edwards – Original Sinners

As anyone who has read Martin Edwards’ blog ( ) will know he is extremely well-read in the highways and byways of mystery fiction. This talk was therefore filled with allusions to writers both well-known and obscure (to me anyway). The problem in relation to the latter was that I was unable to make out the proper spellings or names referred to and the following account is therefore heavily abbreviated. The theme of the talk also only became clear when Martin explained it at the end but, in my view, it makes more sense to introduce it first. Read the rest of this entry »

Session 4

Mary Andrea Clarke – Headsman and Hangmen

This was a history of executioners through the ages, and included an examination of the effect of killing on the killers. Although this was an extensively researched and well put together talk, I have to admit that the subject itself is not one that interests me and therefore I did not make many notes. Read the rest of this entry »

The annual St Hilda’s Mystery and Crime Weekend was held from 21st to 23rd August 2009 at St Hilda’s College, Oxford. As usual it was superbly organised and this year was graced by excellent weather. I have attempted to give a general description of the Weekend at This was my fourth St Hilda’s (after 2001, 6 and 7) and I definitely enjoyed it the most. Read the rest of this entry »

Andrew Pepper – The Last Days of Newgate (2006)

I don’t usually comment on books which fall into the DNF (Did Not Finish) category, but this particular mystery offers me a chance to make a more general observation on my reading habits and approach. I reviewed the third in the Pyke series, Kill-Devil and Water (2008), at the beginning of this year for rte (see ) and found many positive things to say about not least the fact that it had a real, and very good, mystery plot. My one problem I summed up as follows… Read the rest of this entry »

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November 2009