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Widdecombe – Criminally Good!

It’s the world’s biggest celebration of the crime genre – the 13th Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival features up to 80 authors in action, in conversation and at the bar at the Old Swan Hotel on 16-19 July.

Joining Giants of the Genre, Lee Child (interviewed by Rory Bremner), Mark Billingham (interviewed by Eddie Izzard), Vera-author Ann Cleeves, MC Beaton, and Last Tango in Halifax writer, Sally Wainwright is a woman who is more likely to be accused of crimes against TV, namely flying through the air on Strictly Come Dancing.

Ann Widdecombe has written a crime novel inspired by the show, The Dancing Detective.

Widdecombe is full of surprises, ever since she stood down as Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald in 2010, after 23 years in which she rose to become Prisons Minister then Shadow Home Secretary.

First of all she popped up very creditably presenting Have I Got News For You, got to know gangs of hoodies for a documentary, and then of course, Strictly Come Dancing.

Her novels so far have been middle market dramas, two of them set during the Second World War. The latest, The Dancing Detective, follows a murder investigation after a dancer on a TV reality show is found dead in her dressing room.

“I’ve always wanted to try a detective novel, but I’m not completely changing genres. I found writing crime quite a challenge, as you have to have it all plotted out from the start. With my other books, the story has developed as I’ve gone along. I’d like to do a crime series but still do the other style, too.”

Strictly didn’t set Ann Widdecombe off on a hobby of afternoon tea dances down in Devon. “I don’t dance now because, as Anton says, I never could and I never did. The great thing for me about the show was the fantastic release from the responsibility I’d felt as an MP. It was three months of sustained frivolity.”

Ann Widdecombe will join a panel to discuss The Dark Art Of Criticism at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, on Friday, July 17 at 10pm at the Old Swan Hotel. Box office: 01423 562 303

The Dancing Detective by A N Widdecombe is out now.

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