Recent Events

Saturday, 10 March 2018

CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour edited by Martin Edwards

Published by Orenda Books,
15 November 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-910633-92-2  (PB).
ISBN: 978-1-910633-91-5 (HB)

A writer who’s determined not to relinquish her crown as The Queen of Mystery, Anna Mazzola’s family makes a  Return to the Lake where a teenager went missing, twenty years ago, mysterious notes warn ‘You’ll be dead by dawn’ ... and those are just the opening stories in this cracking compendium of short stories by a selection of crime-writing’s finest.

A new CWA anthology is always an event, and this collection of twenty-eight stories doesn’t disappoint. The theme is travel and intriguing destinations. Florida’s Key West is the setting for Kate Rhodes’ Snowbird, a retirement destination turned horror-story, and there’s an equally chilling finish to the South African Three on a Trail by Michael Stanley, and A Clever Evil, set in the atmospheric ruins of an old city, by Sarah Rayne. The heat of Greece was beautifully evoked in Cath Staincliff’s The White Goddess, and ex-pat Spain was the backdrop to Take the Money and Run? by Gordon Brown, where the protagonists suddenly acquires the proceeds of a bank robbery. There’s cross and double-cross in The Naked Lady of Prague, by Kate Ellis, and an unusual motive for murder in Bombay Brigadoon, by Vaseem Khan. Naturally, several tales involved crime writers: at a convention in Ann Cleeves’ The Queen of Mystery and the chilling The Repentance Wood by Martin Edwards; Judith Cutler’s The Mystery Tour has an author arriving at a launch to find it cancelled by someone pretending to be her, Cruising for a Killing, by Maxim Jakubowski, has a writer working aboard a cruise ship, and Writer’s Block by Paul Gitsham has an aspiring writer who gets caught up in a robbery.  We meet some very unpleasant characters, like the men in C.L. Taylor’s You’ll be dead by Dawn, or the bullying husbands in High Flyer by Chris Simms, The Last Supper, by Carol Anne Davis, and Wife on Tour, by Julia Crouch, and I’m happy to say they get their come-uppance, as does the narrator of Matricide and Ice-Cream by William Burton McCormick. No Way Back is J. M. Hewitt’s vivid portrait of a bullied child, and there’s a band of ageing musicians in Paul  Charles’ The Riddle of the Humming Bee, a young musician in The Prodigy,  by Shawn Reilly Simmons, and a burglar in Peter Lovesay’s Moroccan-set Lady Luck. The Spoils by William Ryan focuses on the relationship between two women when one is promoted over the other. Most of the stories are contemporary, but A Mouthful of Restaurant by Martine Bailey involves a grand tour in eighteenth century France. The stories range in length up from the very short  A Postcard from Iceland by Ragnar Jonasson, to the twenty pages of Glasgow-set Travel is Dangerous, by Ed James. Christine Poulson’s clever Accounting for Murder is told in a series of  bills.

Twists, revenge, the innocent avenged and the biter bit ... this selection is treat for crime lovers, and perfect for carrying with you for those moments when you’re waiting at the hairdresser or dentist, or on a short bus journey. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Martin Edwards was born 7 July 1955 at Knutsford, Cheshire and educated in Northwich and at Balliol College, Oxford University, taking a first-class honours degree in law. He trained as a solicitor in Leeds and moved to Liverpool on qualifying in 1980. He published his first legal article at the age of 25 and his first book, about legal aspects of buying a business computer at 27, before spending just over 30 years as a partner of a law firm, where he is now a consultant. He is married to Helena with two children (Jonathan and Catherine) and lives in Lymm. A member of the Murder Squad a collective of crime writers. In 2007 he was appointed the Archivist of the Crime Writers Association and in 2011 he was appointed the Archivist of the Detection Club. Martin is currently chair of the CWA. For more information visit:

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

Click on the title to read a review of her recent book Ghosts of the Vikings

No comments:

Post a Comment