‘Murder in the Library’: New crime fiction exhibition!

If you’re a crime fan within reach of London over the next few weeks, then you have a number of treats in store.

On 18 January, a new exhibition entitled ‘Murder in the Library: An A-Z of Crime Fiction’, opens in the Folio Society Gallery of the British Library. Entry is *free* and it runs until 12 May.

The exhibition is described thus on the British Library webpages: ‘Crime fiction, which currently accounts for over a third of all fiction published in English, holds millions of people enthralled. ‘Murder in the Library’ will take you on a fascinating journey through the development of crime and detective fiction, from its origins in the early 19th century through to contemporary Nordic Noir, taking in the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the first appearance of Miss Marple and the fiendish plots of Dr Fu Manchu along the way’.

Complementing the exhibition are a series of British Library events on crime:

‘Real Crime, Real Fiction’ Monday 21 January 2013, 18.30-20.00, at the Conference Centre, British Library: roundtable discussion with Barry Forshaw, authors Laura Wilson, Robert Ryan and Mark Billingham, and Carla Connolly, curator at St Bartholomew’s Pathology Museum. Questions considered include: ‘Does the consumption of crime novels influence the way we read about real crime? Where does ‘true crime’, which takes its inspiration from actual events rather than mere imagination, fit in?  What is the impact of real-life crimes on the writing and production of crime fiction, both on television and in print?’

‘The Story of Crime Fiction’, Friday 8 February 2013, 18.30-20.00, at the Conference Centre, British Library: ‘Mark Lawson, who recently wrote and presented BBC Radio 4 series Foreign Bodies: A History of Modern Europe Through Literary Detectives, is joined by crime fiction writers, P D James, Henry Sutton and Jason Webster to discuss the history of the genre, their favourite classics and their own work’.

‘The Female Detective’, Friday 8 March 2013, 18.30-20.00, at the Conference Centre, British Library: ‘Britain’s first-ever lady detective Miss Gladden appeared in The Female Detective published in 1864, where she exposed killers while concealing her own identity. Since then the female sleuth, from Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple to Alexander McCall Smith’s Mma Ramotswe, has captivated readers of crime fiction. But what is is about the female detective that makes her an icon of the genre? Join an esteemed panel of writers for an entertaining debate’.

Tickets are £7.50 (£5 concession) and can be booked via the British Library website.

15 thoughts on “‘Murder in the Library’: New crime fiction exhibition!

  1. Oh this sounds great, and I would never have known about it if it weren’t for your blog. I am going to make a real effort to get to see this; will have to be a daytime visit, afraid the evening talks are out – shame, partic like the sound of the Mark Lawson one. I remember the Fu Manchu films – hilarious!

    • It does sound good, doesn’t it? I’m going to try to get there too at some point; hopefully I can combine it with a work trip. And I like that the exhibition is free – access for all!

      Looks like there’ll be some lively discussion at the events – it’s a very nice little package overall.

      Just seen a clip of The Mask of Fu Manchu online: ‘he’s insane for power!!!’

  2. Oh how I wish I could be there! I enjoyed Mark Lawson’s radio series very much, and it would be wonderful to listen to one of my favourite authors, PD James, speak. But it’s a long way from Vancouver to London, so I’ll have to enjoy it vicariously, through anyone who’s able to attend, then post about it!

    • If only we had a handy tardis to bring you over for the day, Cathy! Will definitely report back on the blog if I go – hoping I can manage it between now and May…

  3. Mrs. P – Oh, I hope there’ll be some sort of online ‘highlights’ of this! I can’t get there in person but I’d sure love to hear how it all went.

    • Hi Margot – hopefully some bloggers will oblige with reports of the events; I’m not sure whether the British Library intends to record or put anything online afterwards. I agree – that would be really good. Even those of us who are closer might only manage to get to one…

  4. Oh, great! If only there were a sound/radio hook-up so we could hear these discussions, as we heard Mark Lawson’s wonderful BBC 4 series.
    Nice that the panel on “female detectives” will take place on March 8 — International Women’s Day, set after protests for high wages, better working conditions and restrictions of child labor — by women immigrant garment workers in New York City in 1908. How appropriate.
    Can’t wait to hear all about these panels.

    • Hi Kathy – that’s a good thought. Perhaps given Mark Lawson’s involvement, some of the sessions might end up on Radio 4’s ‘Front Row’…. Can you access that programme and/or its podcasts in the States, I wonder?

      Clever you to spot the International Women’s Day link! How very appropriate!

    • Frustrating, Rebecca. Have been musing in the comments above on whether some bits from the events might make their way to Radio 4 due to the Mark Lawson connection. Will let you know if I find anything out.

  5. Dear Mrs P, me again, I not stalking you, honest! Just wanted to let you know I did a short review(humorous?) on The Killing 2 on my blog, you might find it amusing…wasn’t it just fab? Loved it. Can’t wait to watch Killing 3.

  6. Thanks, Blighty – a cracking post it is too 🙂 I did enjoy series 2 very much, though perhaps not quite as much as series 1. The shower scene in the barracks was a definite highlight though!

  7. Pingback: Murder in the Library: An A-Z of Crime Fiction | The Game's Afoot

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