The Lemon Tree theatre, Aberdeen is abuzz as Sarah Ward, author of the DC Childs crime fiction series, introduces Gavin Gilmour as part of Granite Noir’s Locals In The Limelight initiative, offering a stage to some of the North-East’s most talented noir fiction authors. Gilmour’s use of local dialect during his reading from The Laird’s Throat receives a warm reception.

Ward begins the conversation proper by asking Lilja Sigurðardóttir how she went about researching the drug smuggling trade for her award winning Icelandic trilogy. Sigurðardóttir quips that she’s a fan of unpasteurised cheese and once had a Danish sausage removed from her luggage by customs officials at Reykjavik airport – for which she still feels bitter. In truth, she’s made peace with those officials, even reading at their Christmas do in exchange for their helpfulness in answering her numerous questions.

She reminds us that the financial crash had an enormous impact on her country, both socially and morally, with her debut novel Snare being the first written in its aftermath. Set in modern day Reykjavik, Sigurðardóttir explains how Icelandic writers align themselves with Arctic noir, with exciting emerging writers from both the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

Next it’s the turn of Irish rising star, Catherine Ryan Howard, whose debut fast-paced thriller Distress Signals was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller, with the television rights sold pre-publication.

Her latest work, The Liar’s Girl sees Howard return to her native Ireland. Set against the backdrop of The Grand Canal, Dublin, it explores how influences between the ages of 18 to 20 shape the ways that a person matures. She confesses to being a lover of senseless tragedies.

When asked about her writing process, Howard admits to enjoying plotting and to using real life crimes as inspiration for her work. She mentions Thomas Quick, Sweden’s most prolific serial killer, who after years of confessing to over 30 murders then made the astonishing admission that his confessions were fake. The “did he/ didn’t him?” theme is one that intrigues Howard.

She gently rebuffs Wards suggestion that female Irish crime fiction authors are enjoying their time in the sun. Laughing, she advocates instead that Ireland is just damned good at producing great writing.

The Liar’s Girl is published in the UK on 1st March, with pre-publication copies available to buy at Granite Noir.

An intelligent, fun session showcasing female crime writers unafraid to tackle difficult themes.