The Crime Readers' Association

CSI PortsmouthDrugs, poisons and serious organised crime at CSI Portsmouth 2013

26th December 2013

Internationally acclaimed crime authors joined police and forensic experts and an audience of over a hundred and thirty at CSI Portsmouth 2013 at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on Saturday 2 November to debate crime fiction and crime fact.

Crime author Pauline Rowson opened the event by welcoming everyone to the fourth year of CSI Portsmouth and with the announcement they were in for a treat, a prediction that proved justified as the day progressed.

Taking part in CSI Portsmouth 2013 were crime authors S. J Bolton, Natasha Cooper, Kerry Wilkinson and Pauline Rowson who acted as participating moderator. They were joined by officers from Hampshire Police and crime and forensic experts from the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, Portsmouth University and Triple A Forensics.

Also present throughout the day were the Hampshire Police Fingerprint Bureau Team, a mock up crime scene provided by students from the forensic science course at South Downs College and a forensic display by the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, Portsmouth University on Entomology (maggots, flies) finger mark development (chemical treatments), trace evidence, and DNA.

Pauline Rowson and Kerry Wilkinson held the fort for the crime fiction authors during the morning while the crime experts who appeared with them on the panel were Dr Alex Allan, Forensic Toxicologist, Triple A Forensics, and Mick Ellis, Hampshire Police Drugs Expert. The topics focused around the use and abuse of ‘smart’ drugs known as ‘legal highs’ and solvents, date rape and detecting poisons. There was plenty of information and ideas for budding and established crime writers to soak up.

This was then followed by questions from the audience, a book signing and the chance for the audience to chat to the experts and crime authors on an individual basis.

Joining CSI Portsmouth in the afternoon were crime authors Natasha Cooper and Sharon Bolton and crime experts Sergeant Tony Birr, of the Hampshire Police Marine Unit and Brian Chappell former DCI, New Scotland Yard, now a lecturer at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies University of Portsmouth.

Again many interesting questions were posed and a lively discussion was held on investigations into serious organised criminal gangs, drugs hauls, marine crime and the role of the crime novel in reflecting society’s ills.

CSI Portsmouth 2013 closed at 4.30pm. It was an enjoyable, entertaining and informative day with lots of food for thought for individuals to take away.

About CSI Portsmouth

CSI Portsmouth was first launched in 2010 and is the brainchild of Pauline Rowson, author of the DI Andy Horton series of crime novels, set in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. She organises the event with Portsmouth City Council Library Service and the Hayling Island Bookshop. Part of Portsmouth BookFest, CSI Portsmouth is fast becoming a major fixture in the crime fiction festival calendar.

CSI Portsmouth 2014 will be held on Saturday 8 November 2014. More details in the coming months. Tickets on sale from September 2014 so make sure to make a note in your diary as tickets sell fast.  More details available at

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  • Crime Author Pauline Rowson opening CSI Portsmouth 2013

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