Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bloody Brilliant!

I can't pick a favourite convention. The best one is the one I'm at or packing for or still recovering from.

So I thought I'd put on my Scottish Tourist Board sash and tell you about Bloody Scotland. It's held in Stirling and if you like a bit of history with your crime cons Stirling's not too shabby. It's been there since the 12th century, Mary Queen of Scots lived there, her baby was crowned James VI there, and Robert the Bruce and Mel Gibs- I mean William Wallace both fought battles there.

There's a serious castle, by anyone's reckoning. And then in 2012, Stirling's bloody history got a fresh chapter with the first annual celebration of Scottish crimewriting. I missed it. It was as though they waited until I left and then had a party. But I was there the next year and the third year and it's shot straight to the top of my list of cons.

Everyone from Ian Rankin to MC Beaton is to be found there. Some southerners cross the border, enough to have a Scotland v England football match, billed as a "friendly", perhaps on the theory that if you say it often enough it becomes true.

There are always a few Icelanders and other Nordics there, since it's more or less local for them. I like hanging out with Yrsa Sigurdardottir, because she makes me feel like I've got an easy to pronounce name.

And it's just a very warm, friendly, not completely sober get-together where even if things go wrong they turn out great. An example of this was the cooking/tasting demonstration tied in to the Killer Cookbook, Caro Ramsay's contribution to the Million for a Morgue appeal.

(Which is another story: did you know that, following a huge fund-raising effort, there's now a Val McDermid Mortuary in Scotland, with a Stuart MacBride dissecting room and a Jeffrey Deaver submersion tank?)

Anyway, back to the cookbook. Caro and Craig Robertson had been practicing their recipes for weeks, the event was a sell-out, and then the night before . .  it was revealed that the venue insurance wouldn't allow the use of heat.

Caro, not a quitter, drove to a late-night supermarket and bought the ingredients for all the no-cook recipes in the Killer Cookbook. These were martinis mostly. And also cranachan, which is a dessert made with a little oatmeal, a little cream, a little honey and a lo-hot of whisky. There were no complaints.

Not completely sober, as I say. But worth a visit for any crime fan.


Paul D. Marks said...

Of course you're chartering a plane for all of the Crim Minds to go to Bloody Scotland, eh, Catriona? I would like a window seat. Thank you. :)

Meredith Cole said...

What a great idea, Paul! Bloody Scotland sounds lots of fun, Catriona...

Catriona McPherson said...

It truly is and you'd be lucky to get away without a visit to my mum's for cake.

Catherine said...

I would walk 500 miles, etc etc for your mum's cake.

Meg said...

CAAAAAAKE? did someone say CAKE???

Susan C Shea said...

Ah, the Scots...They do know how to carry on! I think we all have to work on our accents and make it there one year soon.