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Wednesday 17 April 2024

Latest Brighton-Based Brains @ The Bevy Event To Explore Writing True Crime & Forensic Psychology

In Brighton crime writer Kim Donovan and forensic psychologist Dr Gemma Graham will share expert insights on the mystery of true crime stories and how to write them.

The latest University of Brighton Brains at the Bevy - a community owned pub and cafe, run by local staff, volunteers and shareholders - programme on 1st May 2024 will feature Kim Donovan, the author of The Mysterious Mrs Hood, a historical true crime book about the life – and death – of her great-great aunt, and acclaimed forensic psychologist and lecturer Dr Gemma Graham.

Kim, who is Head of Library Academic Engagement at the university, will talk about the process of writing a true crime book from rooting around in libraries and archives to drawing on historical sources to bring stories from the past to life.

Principal Lecturer in Forensic Psychology, Dr Gemma Graham, will also focus on media representation of true crime

She will explore how criminal cases are often sensationalised and put on trial in the media before they even enter the courtroom.

The talks will be followed by a round of discussion with Kim and Gemma answering questions from the audience.

Kim's book, The Mysterious Mrs Hood, published in February 2024 was inspired by years of research triggered by a casual conversation with her grandmother when she was only 10 years old:

"I can vividly remember the day: I was looking through my grandparents' old photographs, when I came across a black-and-white image of a man and a woman, posing for a formal portrait in a photographer's studio. 

"Who are these people?" I asked my grandmother. She pointed to the woman. '

"That's Mary Jane Bennett, my mother's half-sister.' My grandmother paused, before adding: 'She was murdered just before my mother was born.'"

Kim added: 

"The catalyst came when I was asked by Chalkboard TV to share my research with them for a show called Murder, Mystery and My Family, which re-examined historical murder cases with the intention of testing the conviction of the accused. 

"Having watched the finished episode, I remember feeling that it was heavily weighted in favour of the accused and Mary Jane's voice seemed to have been lost in the retelling of the story. I decided to write the book to provide a more balanced account."


by: Mike Cobley




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