The Grimsby Author Series event last Monday, February 12 went off (almost) without a hitch. It was a dark and frosty night, perfect for an evening of mystery, and the audience was geared up to hear two of the genre’s biggest writers, Peter Robinson and Giles Blunt, speak about their work… The funny thing about the frostiest time of the year though is that people tend to get the flu. Unfortunately, just that happened to Giles Blunt! There was a collective sigh of disappointment from the crowd when we heard the news that he would not be attending that evening, and we all send him our get well soon wishes. Luckily, the night was not lost as we had another ace up our sleeves in Peter Robinson. Peter definitely held his own and delivered a fantastic talk featuring the latest book in his long-running DCI Banks series Sleeping in the Ground.
Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery was our wine sponsor for the evening and they brought two fabulous wines from their Fancy Farm Girl collection for the audience to sample. The Frivolous White was zippy and crisp with citrus and honey notes, and the Flamboyant Red was elegant and fruity with underlying notes of leather, cinnamon and other mulling spices. Just lovely!
Peter Robinson last attended the Grimsby Author Series over 10 years ago when we still held our events in the gym at Blessed Trinity high school. Our series has grown since then, and so has Peter’s collection of DCI Banks crime thrillers. The latest, Sleeping in the Ground, is number 24 in the series, but there are no tired old tropes or plot lines to be seen. Peter somehow manages to offer a fresh take every time. His 30 some years of experience have not hindered him, as it has given him the innate ability find new inspiration everywhere he looks.
As we had a bit more time last Monday night, Peter decided to read two passages from Sleeping in the Ground: one that was gruesome, and one that was depressing. This, however, did not put a damper on the night. Peter’s natural warmth and humour, as well as his engaging writing and reading style, made hearing them wholly enjoyable. The audience was completely absorbed. We could almost see it play out in front of us as the first scene unfolded. A brutal mass shooting at a wedding, elegantly unveiled, almost in slow motion, as the narrator floats above it all and describes the horrific picture. This was a truly unique, disturbing, but ultimately fascinating sensation, and a riveting introduction to the book (and the night). In the next scene we find Banks hurriedly leaving a funeral. His first love is dead, and he heads to a hotel for a drink.
Peter chooses his words expertly, and these two scenes, that could get bogged down in explicit descriptions and wallowing emotion, are instead so engaging and satisfyingly paced that you just want more. He does not dwell, but instead reveals everything you need to know in a few carefully chosen sentences and observations. Banks’ character is so fully formed, and Peter’s knowledge of him so deep, that he seems to walk right off the page. For those who had never read a Peter Robinson book before Monday night, they definitely will now.
At the end of the night Peter answered many questions from the audience about his career as a writer, his roots in England and writing poetry, and how DCI Banks made it to the small screen in the popular series of the same name. Afterward he stayed to sign copies of his new book for fans. We’d like to thank so him for visiting us and taking on the evening as our sole speaker. It was an amazing night and we had such positive feedback from those who attended!
Door prizes were raffled off at the end of the night as well which included fabulous items from our sponsors Cole’s Florists, Objects to Desire, Stacy Heidman of Steeped Tea, Elipsis Day Spa, Special Effects Art Shoppe, Theatre Aquarius, and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. A big thank you to all of these contributors, and to The Peanut Mill, Forks Road Pottery and Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery for providing our guest speaker with his wonderful gifts.
Thanks so much as well to all of our awesome volunteers, sponsors and benefactors for making the Grimsby Author Series possible, we could not do it without you!