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New Inverness Creative Academy in Midmills former academy building is the scene of a crime writing event featuring Margaret Kirk, Helen Forbes and Lin Anderson


By Margaret Chrystall

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AN unusual crime writing event is happening today (Thursday) at the Creative Academy in the Midmills building of the former Inverness Royal Academy.

The Crime Doesn't Die book event with three writers at the Creative Academy, Stephens Street, Inverness tonight (Thursday, November 4) at 6.15pm.
The Crime Doesn't Die book event with three writers at the Creative Academy, Stephens Street, Inverness tonight (Thursday, November 4) at 6.15pm.

It takes Inverness writers Margaret Kirk and Helen Forbes back to their old school, joined by Carrbridge crime writer Lin Anderson for a book launch with a difference.

The event celebrates the paperback publication of Margaret’s latest DI Lukas Mahler series In The Blood which came out last week.

But both Helen and Lin have had new books out this year too.

Helen’s book Unravelling is a thriller set at the former asylum Craig Dunain. Lin Anderson’s The Killing Tide is the 16th case for forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod.

All three writers will be discussing their books and also the art of crime writing.

Margaret Kirk.
Margaret Kirk.

Margaret Kirk said: “For the past year and a half while Covid has been raging people haven’t been able to do physical in-person events, but I think by now people are getting pretty much Zoomed out.

“I’d always wanted to do something up at the old Inverness Royal Academy building and when I knew Wasps were taking it over, I just happened to get in contact with them and they said we have this wonderful space in the gym the old assembly hall.

“I went up to see it and it is a lovely light airy space and in our current situation there is plenty room to set chairs out.

“Both Helen and I were former pupils of the academy and so it felt an ideal place.

“I knew Helen had her new book out which is set in Inverness and of course both Lin’s book and my book are part set in Orkney. So we all really had something in common. And because it’s around Halloween and a spooky time of the year, because of the themes my book deals with, I thought everything would come together really well.

“And Waterstones have been good and will be pushing the books up the hill and selling them there!

“My book was first out in April but it was very low key because we didn’t know what was happening then.

“So for the paperback coming out I wanted to make a splash around the official date which was October 27.”

Crime writer Lin Anderson from Carrbridge.
Crime writer Lin Anderson from Carrbridge.

Now Margaret is working on the next book in the DI Mahler series, but In The Blood didn’t quite turn out the way Margaret had originally planned.

“It was very strange I did have quite a bit of difficulty at one point trying to work out where things were going to end up. I didn’t had a different ending, but perhaps a different slant on it.

“As I was writing the book, it seemed to want to go in a different direction and that is where it ended up.

“I was quite surprised how dark it got.”

Margaret has always had a clear idea about how the series will end.

“But I’m just interested to see these unexpected detours along the way. And certainly there is a new character I very much liked.

"But they had been intended just to be a walk-on part.

"Since then I’ve had lots of people saying ‘You can’t get rid of her!’.”

Helen Forbes.
Helen Forbes.

With the extra time lockdown offered, Margaret also began something new.

“Interestingly as a sort of side project, I did start something else during lockdown. It’s not quite finished but it is definitely getting there.

“I suppose I am trying to write two books at once.

“It won’t be a police procedural, but it will be set up here and it will have a female protagonist and I would say it is possibly going a little more towards the uncanny side.

“There are slight supernatural overtones, put it that way.

“Certainly, I think that has been a thread from book two.

“I’ve been veering towards that sort of thing and I’m enjoying the chance to explore it more than I do in the Mahler books which are mainly police procedurals.”

The title of the event Crime Doesn’t Die is intriguing.

Margaret said: “That was Pauline Mackay, who owns Ablekids Press, and is hosting the event. The title was her idea and I think she is going to be an absolutely fantastic host for the evening. She really thinks carefully about her questions and I think she will be asking us a lot of interesting things.

"I really think she is going to be quite probing and I’m really looking forward to that.”

There is no need to book to attend the free event.

Crime Doesn’t Die with Margaret Kirk, Lin Anderson and Helen Forbes, host Pauline Mackay at the Inverness Creative Academy on Stephens Street, Inverness, at 6.15pm with free entry. More details on each writer:

Margaret Kirk – margaretmortonkirk.wordpress.com

Lin Anderson – lin-anderson.com

Helen Forbes – Facebook: Helen-Forbes-Author-457783327732599/

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