I first came here in 2008. I think it would be fair to say that the authors at that festival outnumbered readers. And that goes for the panels. There were few big names and speaking with publishers - no names mentioned - a few were sceptical whether Crimefest would ever take off.
Well, into its fifth year now, and not only has it taken off, it's crusing at a nice altitude. It is a sell-out, and some panels are standing room only. My sole appearance was at 9am this morning, discussing stretching boundaries in crime fiction, at a time when most crime writers are stretching in bed. Thankfully, readers are made of sterner stuff and the room was full and the panel was a success. I managed to make a few lucid contributions, thanks to going bed at a reasonably civil hour the previous night. I took my lead from those wise, temperate men, Michael and Stan, who also turned in early(ish), though in Stan's case that might have been down to the fact he left Guinness stores in Ireland severely depleted on his recent trip there.
I was going to return to London today, my wife having injured her back. But thankfully she has help with our kids so I can
Already the talk is of next year, and which special guests might be lured over (Jeffrey Deaver and Lee Child have sprinkled this year's event with their stardust). If you can make it, I can heartily recommend making the trip. Mine's a bottled beer.
Dan - Friday