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Murder by the Book: A Celebration of 20th Century British Crime Fiction

23 March – 24 August 2024

Monday – Friday 9am – 6:30pm

Saturday 9am – 4:30pm

Closed Sundays, and 29 March to 1 April 2024 inclusive 

Booking is essential. Entry is FREE.

Visitors to the exhibition are welcome to enjoy the Library Tea-Room, open 9am – 3pm Monday-Friday, and until 2pm Saturdays.

Book your ticket here


Crime fiction is the UK's most read, bought and borrowed genre. Cambridge University Library draws on its world-leading collections of British crime fiction to stage a murderously good exhibition! 

Bringing together literature, culture and heritage, Murder by the Book: A Celebration of 20th Century British Crime Fiction illuminates and celebrates the stories of the UK’s most popular fiction writing. Curated by award-winning crime novelist Nicola Upson, the Library's exhibition challenges traditional distinctions between literary fiction and genre fiction. Murder by the Book examines crime’s place in our literary history and the Library’s own Special Collections. 

The exhibition showcases rare books and audio-visual recordings looking at the genre from its origins in the works of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens to contemporary best-sellers Val McDermid and Ian Rankin. 

With first editions of The Moonstone and Bleak House, as well as Sherlock Holmes' debut appearance, the exhibition also looks at the Library’s remarkable collections and stylish dust jackets that represent more than a century of British book design. 

Curated by crime novelist Nicola Upson.