The morning session featured three lectures.
Dr Jennifer Palmer discussed Margery’s women through the decades from 1928 to 1968 considering fashions in both dress and hairstyle in the context of the social developments that took place across Margery’s career.
The special guest speaker was Helen Dorey, MBE, FSA, Deputy Director of the Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London. Her talk included fascinating insights into the attempted armed robbery of the museum which she related with both tension, as the plot came to light, and humour as she described how burly policemen squeezed into the museum porters’ overalls to guard the museum incognito.
The morning concluded with Mark Green giving a comparison of the demands that Margery placed on her readers measured using the Gunning Fog Index and comparing her with the other queens of crime. Margery was found to be the most challenging author to read, though Dorothy Sayers ran her a close second.
The afternoon was devoted to a trip to Tolleshunt D’Arcy where Margery lived and worked for most of her career. The trip included a rare opportunity of a guided tour of D’Arcy House, Margery’s home, and gardens, which are now in private hands. The tour was followed by a traditional afternoon tea in the village hall, described by Margery in her non-fiction work about her wartime experiences, The Oaken Heart.
The day concluded, after dinner, with a screening of the 1956 film version of Margery’s thriller, The Tiger in the Smoke, starring Donald Sinden.