An enthusiastic crowd was at Waterstones Derby yesterday evening to welcome crime author Elly Griffiths, there to talk about her series of novels starring Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist. I've seen the author at a previous event where she shared the 'stage' with two other writers; last night she had it all to herself and proved to be a fluent, engaging speaker, comfortable standing alone in front of the crowd.
Elly started the event by telling us that that isn't really her name at all; it's actually Domenica De Rosa and under it she's published four books, all loosely connected by Italy, but when she turned to crime writing her agent suggested taking a different name and she chose her grandmother's - Ellen Griffiths.
She talked for about half an hour on a wide range of topics - where she gets her inspiration, advice for budding authors, anecdotes from other events, the Ruth Galloway series - its characters and Norfolk settings - and a new one starting with The Zig Zag Girl - set in the 1950s and mixing crime and music hall magic acts - after which she answered questions from the audience. Sometimes at this point in an event the crowd can get all quiet and nervous, waiting for someone else to be the first to ask something - not so last night. Elly seemed really approachable, and chatted comfortably with her fans.
Shame to say, despite this being my second Elly Griffiths event, I haven't read any of her books - but last night has convinced me that I should; with such a lot of catching up to do with Ruth Galloway, I'm tempted to start with the new series and The Zig Zag Girl.