Crime has really arrived. Hollywood's lengthy tradition of film noir, of course, was raided by the cine-semioticians long ago, and has been "art" for decades. But guardians of literature have been keen for longer to keep crime in its genre ghetto. Fast-wind to 1995, however, and it seems that the most trenchant analysis of social and cultural mores is being done by the crime novel, with the rise to respectability of such popular authors as James Ellroy, Elmore Leonard and Michael Dibdin. So the fifth year of Britain's only crime and mystery festival, Shots in the Dark, which coincides with Bouchercon, the world mystery convention for book-lovers, looks set to be its most successful yet. Shots kicks off with Desperado (8pm 21 Sept), a high-budget Tex-Mex action thriller with the two-fold attraction of Antonio Banderas and lots of guns, and also has screenings of Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (8.30pm 23 Sept), a gangster movie which stars the dream team of Andy Garcia, Christopher Lloyd and Christopher Walken, and J'ai pas Sommeil (8.15pm 30 Sept), the new true-story Gallic noir starring Beatrice Dalle; and closes with Mute Witness (8.30pm 1 Oct), a Moscow-shot British thriller, starring Mary Sudina (left). What's more, there are collections of early British thrillers by Hitchcock. On the literary side, Bouchercon includes signings by the likes of James Ellroy and Ruth Rendell, as well as a conversation with Morse writer Colin Dexter. As they say, steal a ticket.
Broadway Media Centre, Nottingham (0115 952 6611) 21 Sept-1 Oct