Crime and the City, CSI Portsmouth where crime fiction met crime fact a huge success

Over 200 people packed the hall in Portsmouth to hear best selling crime fiction authors pitch their wits against police and forensic experts in a unique event the first ever Crime and the City CSI Portsmouth held as part of Portsmouth Bookfest on 6 November.

Lovers of crime fiction and CSI television programmes came together at John Pounds Community Centre in Queens Street, Portsmouth, to hear crime authors and crime experts debate fact meets fiction, the brainchild of International crime writer, Pauline Rowson.

Crime and the City, CSI Portsmouth kicked off at 10am with a morning panel featuring crime authors Simon Brett, June Hampson and Pauline Rowson, who were joined by Crime Scene Investigators from Hampshire Constabulary and forensic psychologists from the University of Portsmouth. The afternoon session at 1pm featured crime authors Graham Hurley, Peter Lovesey and Pauline Rowson again with police and forensic experts.

Pauline Rowson’s marine mystery crime novels featuring Inspector Andy Horton are set in the Portsmouth and Solent area as is Graham Hurley’s Joe Faraday series. June Hampson’s Daisy Lane novels are set in Gosport. Peter Lovesey is a prolific writer with a string of awards including the Cartier Diamond Dagger for his career in crime writing and whose novels have been dramatised on television, and Simon Brett is responsible for the Charles Paris, Mrs Pargeter and Fethering series of crime novels, as well as radio and television series such as No Commitments and After Henry.

On the expert side was DS Martin Chudley, in charge of the Crime Scene Investigation team for Hampshire Constabulary and Jane Aston and her team from the Fingerprinting Bureau. With them was Dr Claire Nee, Director of the International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology at Portsmouth University, an expert in forensic psychology and Dr Paul Smith, an expert in Crime Scenes. To keep them all in check was panel moderator Cheryl Buggy, Station Director at Express FM, as she stimulated a lively discussion amongst the authors and experts and took questions from the audience.

There was the opportunity for delegates to see how the fingerprinting bureau works and have their fingerprints taken and pressed into a keyring to take away. Delegates were also able to talk to the crime authors to find out how they come up with their intricate plots and research their novels.

A mobile bookshop was provided by the Hayling Island Bookshop who helped to organise the event along with the Portsmouth Library Service.

Pauline Rowson says, 'It was a great day and we all enjoyed it tremendously. It was so successful that we are hoping to build on it and do something even bigger and better next year at the Portsmouth Bookfest 2011. I'd like to thank everyone who participated and who worked so hard to make it a success, and most of all I'd like to thank the audience.'

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