CSI Portsmouth returns for sixth year with cops, authors and experts

WRITERS, forensic experts and police gave plenty of clues about what makes a good crime novel at a Bookfest event.

Monday, 7th March 2016, 5:58 am
From the left are forensic science adviser Jonathan Smith, 59, crime writer Elly Griffiths, 52, and PC Simon Mound, 48, a crime investigator with Hampshire police Picture: Malcolm Wells (160305-9680)

The CSI Portsmouth 2016 event returned for its sixth year on Saturday at the Pyramids Centre, in Southsea.

The day was part of Portsmouth BookFest and it saw best-selling crime authors join police and crime experts to debate crime fiction and crime fact in two panel events.

In the morning, award-winning writer Elly Griffiths, author of the series featuring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway, and Pauline Rowson, author of the popular DI Andy Horton novels set in the Solent area, joined crime experts Simon Mound, a crime scene investigator and Jonathan Smith, a forensic scientist.

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Rob Scammell from Baffins with author Pauline Rowson Picture: Malcolm Wells (160305-9670)

Mrs Rowson, from Hayling Island, who founded CSI Portsmouth in 2010, is the author of the novels featuring the flawed and rugged Portsmouth copper DI Horton.

She is also the author of two thrillers and a new marine-based crime series featuring former Royal Marine Commando, Art Marvik.

She said: ‘It was brilliant, it went really well.

‘We had a really good audience and managed to sell more than 100 tickets, with about 100 people attending on the day, which was good.

Rob Scammell from Baffins with author Pauline Rowson Picture: Malcolm Wells (160305-9670)

‘Our experts were absolutely fascinating, as were our authors.

‘This sort of event appealed to a wide range of people – from budding crime writers, because they can ask the experts for help with their novels, to people who are just simply interested in fiction, or reading crime fiction.’

Author Rob Scammell, from Baffins, said he enjoyed the event and that he managed to pick up some inspiration for his first crime novel, which he is currently writing.

The 22-year-old said: ‘You didn’t need to be an expert in crime, it was still interesting to hear about the authors’ thinking processes.

‘It was very well run. I would definitely go again.’

The Hampshire Police Fingerprint Bureau were also present and a mock-up crime scene was provided by students on the Forensic Science course at South Downs College.

The afternoon panel saw Will Sutton, a musician, playwright an author of historical mysteries in Victorian London, quiz crime author and crime expert Diana Bretherick, a former criminal barrister and now a lecturer in criminology and criminal justice at the University of Portsmouth, and Hampshire-based crime author JS Law, a former Royal Navy officer.

CSI Portsmouth was part of Portsmouth BookFest, a three-week-long festival of popular literature organised by Portsmouth City Council’s library service.