Saturday 6th March 2021 10am-5pm on Zoom:

The 4th Annual Mystery Fest will be delivered via Zoom, but the number and quality of speakers and breadths of topic is as superb as ever.

Our Guest of Honour is an author who has been a loyal friend to Mystery Fest since its beginning, Million Best Seller Leigh Russell, author of the Geraldine Steel series, who will be interviewed by successful actress and author Linda Regan.

Our Expert Witness for 2021 will be Dr Nick Pamment of the University of Portsmouth, who will talk about Wildlife Crime.


10.00-10.05: Introduction Carol Westron and Clare Forsyth

10.00-10.30: From Oil Rig to Author – Nick Morrish (shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger) interviewed by Carol Westron

10.30-11.15: Linda Regan and Alison Bruce in Conversation: Writing a Police Procedural

11.15-11.25: break

11.25-11.55:  Dot Marshall-Gent: Early highwaymen through to Bonnie and Clyde – Crime poems and songs

11.55-12.55: Expert Witness, Dr Nick Pamment: Using forensics to combat Wildlife Crime including the Ivory Project

12.55-1.20: break

1.20-1.50:  Carol Westron: The Emergence of the Elderly Female Sleuth – Miss Marple and Miss Silver

1.50-2.35: Guest of Honour,  Million book bestseller Leigh Russell interviewed by Linda Regan

2.35-3.05: Peter Tickler: Recycle and Re-use – Lessons from a Crime Writer in reusing discarded work

3.05-3.15: break

3.15-3.45: Judith Cranswick: Writing Travel Crime during Lockdown

3.45-4.30: From Pirates and Praetorians to cozy murder and international conspiracy: Alison Morton and Helen Hollick in Conversation

4.30-5.00: Jeff Dowson: Inspiration for Crime – Detectives who have influenced my Detective


Alison Bruce

Alison Bruce is the author of nine crime novels and two non-fiction titles. Her first novel, Cambridge Blue (2008), was described by Publishers Weekly as an ‘assured debut’ and introduced both detective, DC Gary Goodhew, and her trademark Cambridge setting. She went on to write six further novels in the DC Goodhew series before writing the psychological thriller I Did It for Us (2018) and her 2020 publication, The Moment Before Impact.

The other books in the DC Goodhew series are The Siren (2010), The Calling (2011), The Silence (2012), The Backs (2013), The Promise (2016) and Cambridge Black (2017). Other works include, two true crime books and a selection of short stories. Her work has attracted both critical acclaim and a loyal readership. In 2013 and 2016 Alison was short-listed for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library Award.

Alison was awarded a first in BSc (Hons) in Crime and Investigation at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge which included subject areas such as: crime scene investigation, policing practice, major investigations, mass fatality incidents, fire investigation, forensic pathology and forensic archeology. Alison is currently working on the UK’s largest policing professionalism contract which will, in July 2021, begin to deliver a policing degree to 7 police forces including Cambridgeshire.


Judith Cranswick

Apart from writing, Judith’s great passions are travel and history. Both have influenced her two series of mystery novels. Tour Manager, Fiona Mason takes coach parties throughout Europe, and historian Aunt Jessica is the guest lecturer accompanying tour groups visiting more exotic destinations aided by her nephew Harry. Her published novels also include several award-winning standalone psychological thrillers.

She wrote her first novel (now languishing in the back of a drawer somewhere) when her two children were toddlers, but there was little time for writing when she returned to her teaching career. Now retired, she is able to indulge her love of writing and has begun a life of crime!

‘Writers are told to write what they know about, but I can assure you, I’ve never committed a murder. I’m an ex-convent school headmistress for goodness sake!’

Jeff Dowson

Jeff Dowson began his career in the theatre.

He moved into television, working as a writer/producer/director.  Screen credits include arts series, entertainment features, drama documentaries, drama series and TV films.

Turning crime novelist in 2014, he introduced Bristol private eye Jack Shepherd in Closing the Distance.  The second thriller, Changing the Odds, was published the following year, Cloning the Hate in 2017.  Book 4 is scheduled for release in spring 2019

One Fight At A Time, published in 2018, is the first in the American GI Ed Grover series.

Jeff is a member of BAFTA and the Crime Writers Association.


Helen Hollick

First published in 1994, Helen (often known as ‘Helen With The Hat’) became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she writes a nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages. She is now branching out into the quick read novella, ‘Cosy Mystery’ genre with her new venture, the Jan Christopher Murder Mysteries, set in the 1970s, with the first in the series, A Mirror Murder (due to be published in early 2021) incorporating her, often hilarious, memories of working as a library assistant.

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She lives in an eighteenth-century farmhouse in North Devon, runs Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction, and occasionally gets time to write…


Dot Marshall-Gent

Dot Marshall-Gent worked in the emergency services for twenty years before teaching secondary English in London and Kent.  She is a singer-songwriter, writes poetry and non-fiction, and enjoys reviewing books for Mystery People.

Alison Moreton

Alison Morton writes the award-winning nine-book Roma Nova alternative history thriller series. Her fourth book, SUCCESSIO, was Editor’s Choice in The Bookseller and AURELIA was a finalist in the Historical Novel Society Indie Award.

Grips like a vice – a writer to watch out for” says Adrian Magson about series starter INCEPTIO. Her first contemporary crime thriller, Double Identity, came out in January.

Nick Morrish

Nick Morrish is originally from Leeds, but now lives in Fareham. He does much of his writing whilst working on offshore installations around the world. His crime-thriller Emergency Drill, which is set on an oil rig in the North Sea, was shortlisted for the 2020 CWA Debut Dagger Award.

Dr Nick Pamment

Dr Nick Pamment is a Principal Lecturer at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies (ICJS), University of Portsmouth. He teaches and co-ordinates modules on youth crime, youth justice, green criminology, environmental justice and wildlife crime, including the trade in endangered species. He is closely involved with the Ivory Project, which explores the extent of the trade in ivory goods among antique dealers and auction houses in the UK.

Linda Regan

Linda is a successful actress. She has worked extensively in television and film and theatre. Having had to be nice to many actors who she secretly would have liked to murder, she started writing crime thrillers, and found she could kill them off legally and they would never know. Her first crime novel, Behind You, set backstage in a pantomime where a serial killer is loose, won the CremeDeLaCrime worldwide search for new authors competition. She has gone on to write eight more successful thrillers.


Leigh Russell

Leigh Russell has sold over a million books in the Geraldine Steel series, and written trilogies featuring Ian Peterson and Lucy Hall. She is chair of judges for the CWA Debut Dagger Award, and a Royal Literary Fellow


Peter Tickler
Peter Tickler has six published crime novels under his belt, all set in and around the city of Oxford. He has been praised both for the authenticity of the Oxford location (‘a wonderful gift of creating geographically factual settings for his fictional characters’ – Oxford Times) as well as the pace of his stories (‘deliciously thrilling and wildly unpredictable’ – Oxford Today).

He has seen two of his scripts made into short films and most recently created and staged an extremely popular Murder Mystery Event.


Twitter: @ptickler

Carol Westron

Carol Westron is a novelist who writes contemporary crime fiction and Victorian Murder Mysteries, all of which are set in the south of England. She is an expert on the Golden Age of Detective Fiction and gives papers for crime fiction and academic conferences. She also interviews authors and writes articles, and reviews books for Mystery People ezine, The British Library and Amazon. As a Creative Writing teacher she believes in the empowering and healing potential of creative activity and has also written and published a series of children’s pictures books illustrated by her young, severely autistic grandson.