Granite Noir, Aberdeen’s crime writing festival, now sits proudly in the city’s festival calendar. A warm welcome, featuring complementary Granite North gin and specially commissioned Granite Noir ice-cream, by Mackie’s of Scotland, greets those gathered in the Stalls Bar of His Majesty’s Theatre eager to hear about the 2019 programme.

Lesley Anne Rose introduces festival ambassador, Stuart MacBride who hints at the scope and variety of events which will be on offer including music, films, workshops, a guided walk, a locked door event and activities for young adults and children, all sitting alongside more than a dozen author panels. The ever-popular Poisoned High Tea with Dr Kathryn Harkup returns and Harkup will also speak at the Central Library introducing a variety of Scottish poisoners who hit the headlines in the past.

Festival programmer, Lee Randall, brings the programme alive tantalising us with the people and places which will feature from New York, India in the 1920s, a wartime hospital and Norway – just to start.  Some of the hottest debut authors will discuss their psychological explorations of human emotions and there will be a live hook-up with Murder in the Mountains, a crime fiction festival running simultaneously in Colorado, USA.

The Hidden is a “dramatic, interactive experience” for small groups of teenagers and adults hosted by the Central Library where each team must explore clues and work together to solve the mystery and this sounds like the perfect Christmas present for teenage sleuths.

Granite Noir continues to support new talent from in and around Aberdeen and six local writers have again been selected for the Locals in the Limelight strand. Each will read for five minutes before an author panel and then again, later in the weekend, at the Central Library.

Each day’s activities will be rounded off by Late Night Noir featuring music from The Bookshop Band, collaborations, a one woman show fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe and the whole Festival will finish off, as is traditional, with Noir at the Bar on the Sunday evening.

To send us off tonight popular, award-winning local writer Jo Gilbert is reading an excerpt from The Cycle which she shared at last year’s festival and which has since gone on to be published by The Federation of Writers (Scotland) in Spindrift. A little more gin and lots more ice-cream appear and everyone has at least one copy of the brochure tucked under their arm ready to pop-up to the Box Office to start securing their tickets.

Granite Noir runs from Fri 22 – Sun 24 February 2019 at various venues in Aberdeen