Thursday, 11 October 2012
Murder in the Library
The library is full of scarlet women today! And the odd scarlet man too. It's the first day of the Orcrime Crime Writing Festival, organised by staff here, and the place is awash with red and black. Whodunnit? My money's on Miss Scarlet in the Library - but which one!
We're awaiting the arrival of Ann Cleeves who wrote the Shetland Quartet, recently filmed for TV in Shetland, and the Vera books which also feature on the small screen. A thrilling event to be involved in my first week here. Ann will be revealing the winner of the crime short story writing competition launched to coincide with the festival. There were many entries and the quality high, I'm told, so can't wait to see who has thrilled and mystified the judges most.
I spoke to a library user in the foyer today. He didn't want to give his name. Many of the Orcadians I talk to are reticent about being quoted in a public forum. But he was happy to tell me how books feature in his life and in that of his wife: "My wife doesn't keep very well and has to stay in bed a lot of the time. The library is a great thing for her because she can borrow audio books and can listen to the stories. She finds reading books too tiring. Mysteries, detective stories, humour - that's the kind of thing she goes for.
What about yourself, I asked him. "I've been a member of the library for over forty years, since I was at school and the library was in Laing Street. The library's well used in Orkney. I think it was the first library in Scotland. I tend to borrow factual books rather than fiction - science, history, metaphysical and mystical books. It's a lot cheaper than buying them!"
We're kicking off today with Broth and Breid. I don't think it's rhyming slang for anything deadly, or at least I hope not.
Now where did I put that packet of arsenic?