:: Buzzwords

Dark Currents

Monday October 8th, 7.30pm at The Wheatsheaf, 25 Rathbone Place, North Soho (off Charlotte and Oxford streets)

Since the days of the Regency, when prostitutes and pickpockets worked the promenades, and smugglers the coves and bays, the seaside has always had a seedy underbelly.

And the English seaside can rightfully claim to be the birthplace of the English detective novel. It was in between examining nautical malingerers and Senior Service retirees at his medical practice in Southsea, Portsmouth that Arthur Conan Doyle wrote ‘A Study in Scarlet’ – the tale that in 1887 bequeathed Sherlock Holmes to the world. Nearly a quarter of a century later, in Torquay, a 20-year-old Agatha Christie, recovering from a bout of influenza and bored with eking out the hours at home assembling jigsaws, created the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

Cathi Unsworth, ‘the first lady of noir fiction’, grew up in Great Yarmouth and her latest novel the brilliant Weirdo is a unforgettable slice of eastern gothic set in a fictional Norfolk resort.

Travis Elborough, author of Wish You Were Here: England on Sea, hails from a family who ran a pioneering pirate-themed restaurant in Cornwall and was born in Worthing on the Sussex coast.

Together they will chart the seamier waters of the English seaside, ranging from Patrick Hamilton to Harold Pinter and from Graham Greene to Quadrophenia, and reading from their own works.

First posted: Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012.

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