Just opened at the British Library in London is the exhibition Murder in the Library: An A-Z of Crime Fiction. This is a look at the history of crime fiction from its early roots to the present day, and it features familiar and well-loved writers as well as more obscure and surprising ones. The 'A-Z' element takes us from 'A' for Agatha Christie to 'Z' for Zodiac as in Soji Shimada's Tokyo Zodiac Murders, an illustrated Japanese detective novel, and highlights of the exhibition - which is free and runs until 12th. May - include John Gielgud's annotated script for Murder on the Orient Express and photographs, from his personal album, for his appearance in Morse, original material relating to the real-life crimes behind Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher and Josephine Tey's The Franchise Affair, and Arthur Conan Doyle's manuscript of the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Retired Colourman (1926).
The Library is hosting a series of events to accompany the exhibition including, on Friday 8th. February, The Story of Crime Fiction with Mark Lawson and crime fiction writers P. D. James, Henry Sutton and Jason Webster discussing the history of the genre, their favourite classics and their own work, and on Friday, 8th. March, The Female Detective in which a panel of writers discuss what makes the female detective, from Miss Marple to Mma Ramotswe, "an icon of the genre".
You may not have heard of Britain's first fictional female detective Miss Gladden, otherwise known as "G", but in 1864 she appeared in the book The Female Detective by Andrew Forrester where "her deductive methods and energetic approach anticipate those of Sherlock Holmes, and she can be seen as beginning a powerful tradition of female detectives". The Library has recently re-published the book, with a foreword by Alexander McCall Smith, and they have kindly offered me a copy to give away, so to enter the draw please leave a comment naming your favourite crime novels or authors (male or female). I'm looking forward to reading what you write as it should amount to a great list of crime fiction, so please do put your name in the hat - it's open to all - and I'll pick a winner in a day or two.