Thursday 19th August 2010: CAMSOC Winterfeast 2010: The Great Crimes of Cambridge

Cambridge has been the scene of famous murders that gripped not just the town but the whole nation, ranging from to the unsolved murder of Cambridge shopkeeper Alice Lawton to the murder of a 15-year-old drummer boy whose ghost haunted the killer and drove him to confess.  Cambridge has also been the setting for various detective novels such as the Matthew Bartholomew mediaeval mysteries by Susanna Gregory.  The world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, before moving to 221B Baker Street, attended Sidney Sussex College in the early 1870s. 

Over 120 attended a winterfeast held at the Royal Sydney Golf Club to hear Professor Barry Maitland talkl about the The Great Crimes of Cambridge.  Professor Maitland studied architecture at Trinity College and In 1984 he moved to Australia to head the architecture school at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, and held that position until 2000.

However it is as a writer of detective fiction that Professor Maitland has gained world-wide fame.  In particular he is the author of the acclaimed Brock and Kolla series of crime mystery novels.  The Brock and Kolla novels were among the first in contemporary crime fiction to feature a male-female police team as the central characters, playing complementary roles in the resolution of their cases.  His novels are celebrated for their strong sense of place and atmosphere due in part to his architectural background. 

Professor Maitland began by describing the two great crimes when he was at Cambridge as the food and the plumbing.  He then went on to describe some of the great crime writers who have based their novels in Cambridge including Alison Bruce and Susanna Gregory, the pseudonym of Elizabeth Cruwys, a Cambridge academic who was previously a coroner's officer. Susanna is noted for her series of mediaeval mysteries featuring Matthew Bartholomew, a teacher of medicine and investigator of murders in 14th-century Cambridge

However according the Professor Maitland the greatest crime at linked  Ludwig Wittgenstein, Aldolf Hitler, Kim Philby and Guy Burgess.

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