Thrills and suspense as Granite Noir 2019 is dubbed best yet

Granite Noir 2019. Friday 22nd events and authors. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Abir Mukherjee at The Music Hall.
Granite Noir 2019. Friday 22nd events and authors. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Abir Mukherjee at The Music Hall.

Aberdeen’s third Granite Noir festival came to a close last night with organisers describing it as the most successful ever staged.

Thousands of people flocked to the shows and exhibitions which took place across the city during the three-day schedule.

This year’s highlights included First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hosting a talk show with Abir Mukherjee in the Music Hall to launch the suspense-laden weekend.

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Headliners also included Aberdeen’s own Stuart MacBride and star of television and the comedy stage, Susan Calman.

A self-confessed fan of the crime author’s work, Ms Calman interrogated MacBride as she coaxed a mix of insight and humour from the 19-times published author.

Their conversation revolved around the fictional Granite City detective Logan McRae, fighting and often failing to prevent the darker urges of some of the city’s more criminally-minded inhabitants from emerging.

MacBride’s co-host swiftly turned attention to her own favourite creation – Roberta Steel, the chain-smoking, often foul-mouthed DI – who, judging by the applause from a packed Music Hall, leapt off the page every bit as much for many other readers.

Produced by Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA) with Aberdeen City Libraries, Aberdeen City and Shire Archives and the Belmont Filmhouse, the three-day programme took place in locations across the city with a mixture of free and ticketed events.

Returning was Dr Kathryn Harkup’s popular Poisoned High Tea event – a look at the numerous poisons employed in her novels by Agatha Christie and summarised in her own book A is for Arsenic.

Mugshots from a selection of 19th-century criminals were displayed – straight from the records of Grampian Police – and received 1,000 visitors during the festival.

A panel event also brought together a trio of crime authors, Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, Douglas Skelton and Vaseem Khan who were questioned by James Naughtie on what makes their characters come to life.

Sharing their secrets, they spoke about the painstaking research, planning and plotting that is involved and the different approaches they all had in constructing a crime novel.

Lesley Anne Rose, head of artistic development at APA said the festival had gone “from strength to strength”, and added: “We can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store.”