Sunday, 17 December 2017 Contact us

Looking like a sleuth

Looking like a sleuth

“If you don’t mind me saying… you look rather I like a sleuth yourself,” I said, as I waited for the lift to take myself and fellow passenger up to the first floor of the Oxford Martin School.

Our destination, a talk by three successful thriller authors on ‘How to Find Your Own Detective’.

With crime writers Sophie Hannah, David Mark and Sarah Hilary joining forces to discuss how they created their own best-selling sleuthing characters, the woman beside me looked the perfect fit.

In the few short seconds it took for our lift to rise from the ground to first floor, I imagined her as an elegant Parisian retired teacher who, through sheer charm and guile, manages to expose murderers whose vile crimes have left Paris’s finest investigators flummoxed.

And her answer to my admittedly cheeky enquiry suggests I was pretty close to the mark.

“Actually I was a prosecutor,” she replied, with a strong NY accent. “Oh, and an investigator…”.

Which meant at least one member of the audience would be able to see through the writers flimflam.

Thanks to presenter and interviewer Paul Blezard, the debate crackled as he quite rightly introduced his guests as ‘a helluva panel”.

And neither did they disappoint.

It was a fascinating hour and I noticed the ex-prosecutor - who probably once trod the crime-riddled streets of New York - nodded constantly and benignly.

Do I now know how to create my own fictional detective?

No.

But I do at least appreciate the huge amount of creative effort it requires.

FT Weekend Title partner University of Oxford HSBC Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Worcester College Worcester College: Festival college partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner BBC World Service International radio partner BBC Four Television Broadcast media partner British Academy HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Gibunco Group Sponsor of Gibraltar Lecture Galileo Foundation Italian Cultural Institute Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller Ian and Carol Sellars Lady Hatch Emily Rose and James Marrow George Warren Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design Marshall Maserati Festival courtesy cars The Macdonald Randolph Hotel The festival hotel Eynsham Hall Said Business School Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies New College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Cross College St Cross College Corpus Christi College The Queen’s College The Queen's College St John’s College St John's College Jesus College Hertford College Exeter College Exeter College St Hilda’s College Keble College Keble College Oxford University Press Princeton University Press Oxford Brookes University Oxford Cultural Collective K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography Ashmolean Museum Floris of London University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office The Oxford Times Regional media partner BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Macdonald Bear Hotel Conference Oxford Critchleys Liaison Financial Services The Litmus Partnership British Humanist Association The Sheldonian Theatre Felicity Bryan Associates The Royal Society of Literature Oxford University Museum of Natural History The Story Museum Oxford City Council City Audio Visual OX magazine

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival 2018 partners & sponsors

FT Weekend Title partner University of Oxford HSBC Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Worcester College Worcester College: Festival college partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner BBC World Service International radio partner BBC Four Television Broadcast media partner British Academy HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Gibunco Group Sponsor of Gibraltar Lecture Galileo Foundation Italian Cultural Institute Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller Ian and Carol Sellars Lady Hatch Emily Rose and James Marrow George Warren Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design Marshall Maserati Festival courtesy cars The Macdonald Randolph Hotel The festival hotel Eynsham Hall Said Business School Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies New College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Cross College St Cross College Corpus Christi College The Queen’s College The Queen's College St John’s College St John's College Jesus College Hertford College Exeter College Exeter College St Hilda’s College Keble College Keble College Oxford University Press Princeton University Press Oxford Brookes University Oxford Cultural Collective K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography Ashmolean Museum Floris of London University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office The Oxford Times Regional media partner BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Macdonald Bear Hotel Conference Oxford Critchleys Liaison Financial Services The Litmus Partnership British Humanist Association The Sheldonian Theatre Felicity Bryan Associates The Royal Society of Literature Oxford University Museum of Natural History The Story Museum Oxford City Council City Audio Visual OX magazine