Murderous Medway Panel 3 – Storybuilders

21st September 2019

Panel 3

Guy Fraser-Sampson, Vicky Newham and Linda Regan ponder whether their writing processes make them an architect, an archaeologist or an alchemist.

Guy Fraser-Sampson, previously best known for his Mapp and Lucia novels, which were featured on Radio 4 and optioned by BBC television, is the creator of The Hampstead Murders series, which currently runs to five books, with a sixth on the way.

His series defies any easy classification since they are contemporary police procedurals but written in the spirit of the Golden Age. Neither cosy nor noir, they have been described as intelligent, quirky, elegant, and as “reading like a love letter to the detective novel”. With picturesque Hampstead serving as a constant backdrop, they have also been called “the next Morse”.

Find Guy at Urbane Publications 

Passionate about great stories and fascinated by human behaviour, Vicky Newham’s writing has psychology at its heart.

The DI Rahman novels are gripping detective novels which offer readers a compelling puzzle alongside a window onto contemporary life in multi-cultural East London. Maya faces daily challenges yet it’s her empathy, determination and instinct which make her a brilliant cop.

Turn a Blind Eye is the first in the DI Rahman series of novels and the second, Out of the Ashes, was published in May 2019. Vicky has other novels and non-fiction in development.

Find Vicky at 

Linda Regan will be familiar to you as a successful actor of stage, screen and radio, appearing as April in the hugely popular Hi De Hi sitcom, among many other high profile shows. Writing for many years, Linda’s big break came with winning the Creme de la Crime publishing contract in 2007.

Her first book, Behind You, was published the next year, and two more followed, before Linda moved to Accent publishers, and published a further two books. Linda has just completed her sixth crime novel and is busy with the seventh. 

Find Linda at  

Click here for individual panel tickets or an all day pass.


Murderous Medway Panel 1 – Location, Location, Location

21st September 2019

Panel 1

Elly Griffiths, William Shaw and Lesley Thomson discuss the settings of their novels and how a place can become just as much a character as the heroes.

Elly Griffiths wrote four novels under her own name (Domenica de Rosa) before turning to crime with The Crossing Places, the first novel featuring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway. 

The Crossing Places won the Mary Higgins Clark award and three novels in the series have been shortlisted for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year. The Stone Circle (Ruth #11) was published in February 2019 and was a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller. 

Elly also writes the Brighton Mysteries, set in the theatrical world of the 1950s. In 2016 Elly was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library for her body of work. Her first standalone mystery, The Stranger Diaries, was a Richard and Judy book club selection and was the Times Crime Novel of the Year 2018. She has also recently published a children’s crime novel, A Girl Called Justice.

Find Elly at

William Shaw’s latest book Deadland has been long-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger and the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of The Year and was picked as one of the Sunday Times Summer Reads of 2019. 

Set in Dungeness, his crime series featuring DS Alexandra Cupidi, grew out of his standalone crime novel The Birdwatcher, hailed by The Sun as “a contender for thriller of the year” and praised by Peter May as “the most gripping book I’ve read in years.” The first novel in the series, Salt Lane, is currently in development for TV.

Before becoming a crime writer, William Shaw was an award-winning music journalist and the author of several non-fiction books including Westsiders, about a year spent with the young men of South Central Los Angeles, and A Superhero For Hire, a compilation of columns in the Observer Magazine.

Find William at

Lesley Thomson’s first novel, Seven Miles From Sydney, came out in 1987 when it made  the City Limits top ten best books.  In 1990, she worked with actor Sue Johnston on her semi-autobiographical book, Hold Onto The Messy Times.

While reading for an MA in English Literature at Sussex University, Lesley wrote A Kind of Vanishing. It won the People’s Book prize for fiction in 2010.

A guest tutor on the Creative Writing and Publishing MA at West Dean, Lesley also runs a crime-writing short course with top crime writer Elly Griffiths, and leads workshops and master classes on writing crime novels.

Lesley is author of the best-selling The Detective’s Daughter series, featuring Stella Darnell (MD of Clean Slate Cleaning Services) and Jack Harmon, driver on London Underground’s District Line. Oh, and not forgetting Stanley the poodle.

Find Lesley at

Click here to book individual panel tickets or a pass for the whole day.

July Write Then Socialise

wts july

July’s Write Then Socialise takes place next Saturday, 27th July. Apologies for the late notice, I’ve been away for what seems like months but was only three weeks!

We’re at Rochester Library Cafe again from 10am-2pm, see you there!

Murderous Medway Panel 5 – Lines of Duty

21st September 2019

Kent Police detective Lisa Cutts talks to former police intelligence analyst Elizabeth Haynes and former WPC Gina Kirkham about how much freedom they can allow artistic licence to override procedures when crafting their novels. 

Lisa Cutts has over 20 years experience as a serving detective constable with Kent Police and has investigated over 50 murders during 10 years with the serious crime directorate. She is also now an established star of the crime writing genre, with her fifth novel Lost Lives published in November 2018. 

She is the author of the DC Nina Foster series, Never Forget – winner of the 2014 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award for Best Thriller – and Remember, Remember, with her third and fourth novels Mercy Killing and Buried Secrets featuring the East Rise Incident Room. 

A fantastic resource for crime writers, Lisa writes a monthly column for Writing Magazine, answering police procedural questions from other writers.

Lisa has been Patron of the RLF since 2016. Find her at

Elizabeth Haynes is a former police intelligence analyst from Kent who now lives in Norfolk.

Her first novel, Into the Darkest Corner, was Amazon’s Best Book of the Year 2011 and a New York Times bestseller. Now published in 37 countries, it was originally written as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an online challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. 

She has written a further three psychological thrillers – Revenge of the Tide, Human Remains and Never Alone – and two novels in the DCI Louisa Smith series, Under a Silent Moon and Behind Closed Doors

Her latest novel, The Murder of Harriet Monckton, is based on an unsolved murder in 1843 and was published by Myriad in September 2018. Find her at

Gina Kirkham began her career in front-line policing as a single parent in her thirties. During her time with Merseyside Police she received several commendations and in 2000 she was awarded Police Officer of the Year.

Her debut novel, the humorous Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong, was published in May 2017 by Urbane Publications. July 2018 saw the launch of the second book in the series, Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, and the third, Blues, Twos and Baby Shoes will be published in October 2019.

The series tells the story of single mum Mavis Upton, as she tackles everything that life, love and career can throw at her, in the funny but poignant account of an everyday woman who one day followed a dream to become a later-life police officer and provide for her child.

Gina is now retired from policing and lives on the Wirral with her long suffering husband, two wayward, unruly dogs and the welcome distraction of three hyperactive grandchildren. Find her at

Tickets for this panel (£7) and/or an All Day Pass (£30) can be found here.

Murderous Medway Panel 4 – Crime Seen

21st September 2019

Panel 4

Crime screenwriters Isabelle Grey, Sally Griffiths and JC Wilsher shed light on how the likes of Midsomer Murders and Between the Lines come to life on the screen.

Isabelle Grey was born in London, grew up in Manchester, and for ten years lived on the edge of the Romney Marsh in Kent. A former freelance journalist, she has written for film, radio and television, including numerous screenplays for crime dramas such as The Bill, Wycliffe, Midsomer Murders and Jimmy McGovern’s award-winning BBC series Accused. She has also written four crime novels set in Essex and featuring DI Grace Fisher. The Sunday Times has described her as “one of the most intelligent authors of contemporary crime fiction”. She is currently finishing a novel of psychological suspense set in London in 1963.

Wrong Way Home is the fourth in the DI Grace Fisher crime series. Twenty-five years after the unsolved rape and murder of Heather Bowyer in Southend, new DNA techniques have thrown up two new – and related – suspects. With her investigation shadowed by an ambitious but naïve young true-crime podcaster, backed by tabloid crime reporter Ivo Sweatman, can Grace Fisher reconstruct the original flawed investigation and correctly identify the killer before there is further tragedy?

Find her at


Sally Griffiths is a lifelong fan of crime fiction and drama. With her writing partner, Rachel Cuperman, she has written six episodes of ITV’s Midsomer Murders, including the notorious murder-free episode which attracted the wrath of the Daily Mail and featured as a quiz question on Have I Got News for You.

Sally and Rachel have an original TV crime series in development with Route 24 Productions, and actor Bill Nighy is attached to star in their first feature film, a comedy drama. Flying solo, Sally is the author of three radio dramas broadcast broadcast on Radio Four’s Afternoon Drama slot.


JC Wilsher was born in London, and educated at Leicester & Lancaster Universities. A writer of single plays for television & radio in the late 70’s – early 90’s, JC became a regular writer for The Bill from 1989-2001. He then created the award-winning police series Between the Lines, which aired between 1992-94.

JC has written episodes for some of TV’s most popular crime series: The Vice, Silent Witness, Murder in Mind, Dalziell & Pascoe, New Tricks, Midsomer Murders and Death in Paradise.  He lives in North London.

Tickets for this panel (£7) and/or an All Day Pass (£30) can be found here.

Murderous Medway Panel 2 – Politically Thrilling

21st September 2019

Henry Hemming, KH Irvine and Gareth Rubin capture the political zeitgeist of the last three years and how it’s informed their work. Chaired by Dr. Kate Bradley.

Henry Hemming is the author of six works of non-fiction, including most recently the Sunday Times bestseller M, a biography of the MI5 spymaster Maxwell Knight.

His latest novel, Our Man in New York is gripping story of a propaganda campaign like no other: the covert British operation to manipulate American public opinion and bring the US into the Second World War.

When William Stephenson arrived in the United States towards the end of June 1940 with instructions from the head of MI6 to ‘organise’ American public opinion, Britain was on the verge of defeat. Surveys showed that just 14% of the US population wanted to go to war against Nazi Germany. But soon that began to change…

Those campaigning against America’s entry into the war, such as legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh, talked of a British-led plot to drag the US into the conflict. They feared that the British were somehow flooding the American media with ‘fake news’, infiltrating pressure groups, rigging opinion polls and meddling in US politics.

These claims were shocking and wild: they were also true.

That truth is revealed by Henry Hemming, using hitherto private and classified documents, including the diaries of his own grandparents, who were briefly part of Stephenson’s extraordinary influence campaign that was later described in the Washington Post as ‘arguably the most effective in history’. Stephenson – who saved the life of Hemming’s father – was a flawed maverick, full of contradictions, but one whose work changed the course of the war, and whose story can now be told in full.

“OUR MAN IN NEW YORK is gripping and intoxicating, it unfolds like the best screenplay.” – NICHOLAS SHAKESPEARE

Find Henry at:


K.H. Irvine grew up in Scotland and now lives near London. An experienced business leader for over two decades, K.H. Irvine’s work has taken her to board rooms, universities and governments all over the world and has included personal access to the UK’s Special Forces.

A KILLING SIN is K.H. Irvine’s first book and tackles a number of challenging themes, asking when tolerance becomes intolerable and where security measures become racial profiling. A gripping page-turner with huge commercial appeal and immediate resonance in today’s climate, the book raises questions we may not want to answer and is sure to trigger debate.

Book two is set a few years later as Britain moves to civil unrest and the rise of the far right, where the personal and political become intertwined.

Set in London in the very near future, A Killing Sin centres around three dynamic, flawed women who forged a life-long friendship at university. Through their different career paths, their lives become entwined with that of a young woman, a committed jihadist, who embarks on a horrific terrorist plot hitting right at the heart of Government.


Gareth Rubin spent two decades avoiding libel actions as a social affairs journalist before writing his first novel, Liberation Square. His follow-up, published in 2020, is about British agents in France on the eve of D-Day.

Described as ‘a gripping story, with heart’ by the Daily Telegraph, ‘tightly plotted, tense and set in a chillingly plausible world’ by the Sunday Mirror, and ‘a gripping and well-imagined yarn’ by The Sun​, Liberation Square is a murder mystery set in Soviet-occupied London.

It’s 1952 and Soviet troops control British streets after winning the Second World War. After the disastrous failure of D-Day, Britain is occupied by Nazi Germany, and only rescued by Russian soldiers arriving from the east and Americans from the west. The two superpowers divide the nation between them, a wall running through London like a scar.

On the Soviet side of the wall, Jane Cawson calls into her husband’s medical practice, hoping to surprise him. But instead she detects the perfume worn by his former wife, Lorelei, star of propaganda films for the new Marxist regime. Jane rushes to confront them, but soon finds herself caught up in the glamorous actress’s death. Her husband Nick is arrested for murder. Desperate to clear his name, Jane must risk the attention of the brutal secret police as she follows a trail of corruption right to the highest levels of the state. And she might find she never really knew her husband at all.

Fun fact: Gareth also jointly holds a Guinness World Record as a member of the world’s biggest coconut orchestra!

Find him at

Work picDr. Kate Bradley is a senior lecturer in social history and social policy at the University of Kent.

Kate researches and teaches on a range of areas in justice and social policy in the twentieth century, from the development of the juvenile courts to youth leisure and welfare after the Second World War. She has just finished a book on the history of legal aid and advice, which will be published by Manchester University Press in 2019/20.  Kate lives in Rochester, and is an avid reader of crime fiction in her spare time.

Tickets for this panel (£7) and/or an All Day Pass (£30) can be found here.

Murderous Medway 21/9/19 – the Panels!

FBCrime Writing Festival 2019

We’re thrilled to release the programme for Murderous Medway – five fascinating and perceptive panels!

There’s an All Day Panel Pass available, or you can book individual tickets for each panel:



10.30am-11.30am Location, Location, Location: Elly Griffiths, William Shaw and Lesley Thomson discuss the settings of their novels and how a place can become just as much a character as the heroes.

12.00-1.00pm Politically Thrilling: Henry Hemming, KH Irvine and Gareth Rubin capture the political zeitgeist of the last three years and how it’s informed their work.Chaired by Dr. Kate Bradley.

1.30pm-2.30pm Storybuilders: Guy Fraser-Sampson, Vicky Newham and Linda Regan ponder whether their writing processes make them an architect, an archaeologist or an alchemist.  

2.30pm-3.30pm Late Lunch Break. Sightsee, have dinner (the cafe downstairs is open all day until 7pm) or use your ticket to look around the Huguenot Museum for the discounted price of just £1! 

3.30pm-4.30pm Crime Seen: Crime screenwriters JC WilsherIsabelle Grey and Sally Griffiths shed light on how the likes of Midsomer Murders and Between the Lines come to life on the screen.

5-6pm Lines of Duty: Kent Police detective Lisa Cutts talks to former WPC Gina Kirkham and former police intelligence analyst Elizabeth Haynes on how much freedom they can allow artistic licence to override procedures when crafting their novels.

A exciting line-up, if I say so myself! We look forward to seeing you there.

June Write Then Socialise

Write Then Socialise 22nd June 1-3pm Nucleus Arts Chatham

A slight change of time and venue for this one – Nucleus Arts have invited us along to their Arts fest and have given us their Creative Cabin.

They’re also offering poets and storytellers the chance of an open mic slot, so do contact them direct, if that’s of interest.

I (Jaye) can’t actually be there, so knock yourselves out on my behalf! I’ll be working hard at a script-reading course at Ealing Studios!

May Write Then Socialise

wts may

Sorry for the late notice, but it’s next Saturday! I was toying with the weekend after, but that’s Dickens weekend and it’ll be packed.

So, same place but slightly different time of 1-4pm (though you’re welcome in the library from 10am). I (Jaye) might be a bit late but you know the drill if I am. See you there!

April Write Then Socialise

WTS April

April’s Write Then Socialise will take place during our annual Terry Pratchett celebration, The Turtle Moves, from 10am-1pm in Rochester Community Hub cafe.

The workshops will be in Room 11 at the Rochester hub, and parents who wish to write while their children are crafting are welcome in there instead. The Juvenile Crafters’ Guild runs from 10.30am-12.30pm

We’re also delighted that writer Kerry Hancock is joining us in Room 11 between 11am-12pm. Born and raised in Medway, her life long dream of becoming an author has been realised with the release of her first book ‘The Task’ due this year. A fantasy adventure for young and old, it’s the first in a trilogy.

Kerry will share her story of how she was picked up by her publisher and do a Q&A on the publishing process.

A World Building Workshop using examples from the Discworld will follow between 1.30-3.30pm. See here for details.