CSI Portsmouth where crime fiction meets crime fact

CSI Portsmouth 2014 was a resounding success which saw over 100 people pack The Princess Royal Gallery at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on Saturday 8 November 2014 to hear two panel debates on crime fiction versus crime fact at the fifth annual CSI Portsmouth.

Pauline Rowson introducing the morning panel at CSI Portsmouth 2014

CSI Portsmouth 2014, which is part of Portsmouth BookFest, was conceived by me and I organise it with the help and support of Portsmouth City Council Library Service. It brings together top selling crime authors, police and forensic experts for a one day entertaining and informative debate on crime fiction and crime fact.

The morning panel at CSI Portsmouth 2014

On the morning panel Pauline Rowson joined forces with crime writer M.C. Beaton and with crime experts Dr Katherine Brown, a Forensic Entomologist at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth and Terrence Napier, Footwear Mark Examiner, with Hampshire Police.

Crime authors Pauline Rowson and MC Beaton with Dr Katherine Brown, ICJS, Forensic Entomologist Portsmouth University and Terrence Napier, Hampshire Police

My crime novels are set in the Solent area of the UK on the South Coast of England and feature the flawed and rugged DI Andy Horton.  They have been hailed in the UK and the USA as the 'Best of British Crime Fiction,' and have been translated into several languages including Chinese.

The eleventh in the DI Horton series, SHROUD OF EVIL was published by Severn House in April 2014, while the first in my new crime series to feature a new hero, former Royal Marine Commando, Special Boat Services Officer Art Marvik, SILENT RUNNING, is to be published by Severn House in March 2015 with the twelfth in the DI Andy Horton series, FATAL CATCH, to be published in  September 2015.

Crime author MC Beaton answering a question put by crime author Pauline Rowson at CSI Portsmouth 2014


 M.C Beaton is the author of the Hamish Macbeth novels and the Agatha Raisin series. She is the most borrowed British adult fiction author in UK libraries with over a million borrowings in the last year. She answered questions about the inspiration behind her crime novels, her characters and how she researches them.

Dr Katherine Brown, Forensic Entomologist and Terrence Napier, Footwear Mark Examiner, Hampshire Police at CSI Portsmouth 2014


Dr Katherine Brown, a Forensic Entomologist and Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth, talked the audience through the various stages of the development of flies and maggots in the decomposition of a human body, while Terrence Napier, Footwear Mark Examiner for Hampshire Police Scientific Services, explained how prints are taken at a crime scene and how they are analysed in the lab. 

Audience chatting to morning panel members CSI Portsmouth 2014

This was followed by questions from the audience, a book signing and the chance for individuals to chat to the panel guests.

The afternoon panel at CSI Portsmouth 2014

The afternoon audience at CSI Portsmouth 2014 were entertained  with tales of drug busting, intelligence gathering and covert source recruitment.

Crime authors Pauline Rowson, Jessie Keane with Roger Wood and Mandy Horsburgh Hants, Police, and crime author Hilary Bonner, CSI Portsmouth 2014

Crime author Hilary Bonner answering a question at CSI Portsmouth - crime author Jessie Keane - Roger Wood and Mandy Horsburgh Hants Police

The afternoon panel, grilled by Pauline Rowson, comprised of crime authors Jessie Keane and Hilary Bonner with crime experts, Sergeant Roger Wood and DI Mandy Horsburgh of Operation Fortress, Hampshire Police.

Jessie Keane talked about her gangland crime novels featuring Annie Carter, head of a London gang family and how her background has influenced her writing.  While Hilary Bonner, a former Fleet Street journalist and show business editor of three national newspapers and assistant editor of one, spoke about her keen interest in creating psychological thrillers drawn from real life events.

Sergeant Roger Wood spoke about aspects of intelligence gathering and monitoring suspects in regards to counter terrorism and the recruitment of covert sources of intelligence and cyber crime. While DI Mandy Horsburgh, who works within Operation Fortress, one of the biggest, most significant stand-alone projects ever to be launched by the Hampshire Constabulary, with its own 31-strong dedicated investigation and enforcement team, spoke about how they tackle the most serious violent drug-related crimes alongside organized criminal groups who pose the most risk to communities.

Roger Wood, Hampshire Police answering a question at CSI Portsmouth 2014 with crime author Jessie Keane

The panel debate was again followed by questions from the audience, a book signing and the chance for individuals to chat to the panel guests.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day set against the fantastic backdrop of the sea in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. As well as local Portsmouth people attending there were those from Devon,London, Surrey and Dorset. I’d like to thank all the panel guests and participants who gave of their time and expertise so generously. It was highly informative and intriguing.

Also at CSI Portsmouth were the Hampshire Police Fingerprint bureau, a mock up crime scene provided by students on the Forensic Science Course at South Downs College and a forensic entomology display by the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth. The Hayling Island Bookshop were on hand to sell the authors books.

CSI Portsmouth

CSI Portsmouth  was first launched in 2010 and is the brainchild of Internationally acclaimed crime writer  Pauline Rowson, author of the DI Andy Horton series of crime novels, who organises the event with Portsmouth City Council Library Service.  It is part of Portsmouth BookFest and is now one of the major fixtures in the UK crime fiction festival calendar.

CSI Portsmouth, was sponsored by Bello, publisher Pan Macmillan’s digital imprint, which brings lost classic back to life.

Bello - criminally good fiction, bringing lost classics back to lifeAn imprint of Pan Macmillan, Bello brings lost classics back to life. Over 50% of Bello’s published titles are in the crime genre, ranging from Golden Age mysteries and short stories, to thrillers, cozy crime and detective fiction. Founded in 2011, Bello’s primary format is ebook, but each title is also released as a print-on-demand paperback, available through all bookshops offering POD, or direct to the reader through the Pan Macmillan website.

CSI Portsmouth is part of Portsmouth BookFest a festival of popular literature organised by Portsmouth City Council.


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