Crime writer Ann Cleeves has written a murder mystery script for libraries and booksellers to use in "author-less" events.
The gesture is Cleeves' way of thanking librarians and booksellers for their support during her career, as well as an acknowledgement of the "funding gap" left by cuts to libraries that can make such public events and outreach work difficult or impossible.
The murder mystery script, Blood on the Bannocks, will equip public libraries with everything they need to hold murder mystery nights for readers. It is available from 12th September on Pan Macmillan's website. It requires four volunteers to play the parts of the suspects and a prize for the winning investigator.
The initiative follows similar efforts in 2012 when Cleeves also provided a murder mystery pack to libraries that was a "huge success", according to the Reading Agency.
Katy Mendham, programme co-ordinator for the Reading Agency, said: "As a former reader development officer, Ann really understands her audience and the needs of libraries in supporting their readers. Which is why I know libraries will be delighted that she has created a new murder mystery event pack – it was such a hit first time round and there has been ongoing interest from libraries ever since The Reading Agency worked with Pan Macmillan on the original project. I’m sure it’ll be just as much a success this time round."
Cleeves celebrates the publication of Cold Earth (Macmillan), her 30th book in 30 years, in October, and is also marking the milestone with 30 events in 30 days. She said: "I am so lucky to have been supported by so many passionate librarians and booksellers in my 30 years as an author, writing this murder mystery script is my small way of saying thank you and I hope everyone has fun trying to unravel the mystery!'
Cleeves’ 30th book, Cold Earth, features detective Jimmy Perez, played in BBC1’s drama series by Douglas Henshall, as he struggles to uncover a dark secret buried on Shetland. It was part of a four book contract for UK and Commonwealth rights, bought from Sara Menguc. It will be published on 6th October, priced £16.99.
Cleeves was an ambassador for National Libraries Day 2016 in February. She, along with celebrity chef Nadiya Hussain and British astronaut Tim Peake, wrote love letters to libraries to celebrate the day. She wrote at the time, "The books there can take you back in time or hurtle you into the future. They can answer your questions about dinosaurs or outer space. And every library is full of stories." She is also a member of "Murder Squad", working with other British northern writers to promote crime fiction, and in 2006 was awarded the Duncan Lawrie Dagger (CWA Gold Dagger) for Best Crime Novel, for Raven Black (Pan), the first book in her Shetland series.