In a Word: Murder – An Anthology edited by Margot Kinberg

Writers red in tooth and claw…

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

I have a hard and fast, unbreakable, cast-iron rule that I do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, review books written by people I know, because the review will inevitably be biased. Fortunately, since it’s my rule, I can ignore it whenever I choose. 😉

So when I heard that my blogging buddy Margot Kinberg from Confessions of a Mystery Novelist had edited an anthology of crime stories, and that it also included a story from another blogger I occasionally chat with, Sarah Ward from Crimepieces, AND that it was for an excellent cause…well, it seemed like the appropriate moment for my first ever…

Blatantly Biased Review


in a wordIn a Word: Murder is an anthology of short stories on the theme of authors and publishers. The book is dedicated to the memory of Maxine Clarke and proceeds from sales will go in aid of the Princess Alice Hospice, which cares for people with cancer and other illnesses living in a large part of Surrey, south west London and Middlesex. I never got to know Maxine but I hadn’t been blogging for long before I became aware of the impact she had had on the crime fiction blogging community under her blogging name, Petrona. So much so that there is a blog (Petrona Remembered) specifically set up in her memory and an annual Petrona Award for best Scandinavian crime fiction translated into English. Many crime bloggers speak of her often, with great affection, and credit her with introducing them to Scandi crime.

But what of the anthology itself? Well, in my totally biased opinion, this is a real fun collection. Ranging from very short to reasonably long, each story concentrates on the (hopefully fictional) lengths writers and publishers, and in one case musicians, will go to get their works in front of the public. (In fact, after reading these stories, I was frankly too scared not to review the book…)

Maxine Clarke (
Maxine Clarke

Margot herself has contributed two fine stories – one featuring Joel Williams, the detective who appears in her books, and the other a standalone with a blackly humorous twist about what happens when the author/publisher relationship breaks down (I’m hoping it’s not autobiographical). Sarah’s story is great fun, involving French cafés, omelettes, wine, books, mystery, humour and a little touch of romance – my dream evening in fact.

Other contributions range from light to very dark, providing plenty of variety and contrast. Amongst the authors I don’t know, the standout for me was Martin Edwards’ story The Killing of Captain Hastings – blogging, crime writing festivals and an author who writes ‘cosy’ crime about a detective who loves cats. Funny and with a lot of affectionate ribbing of the world of books and self-promotion, this made me want to go to the next Whitby Fictionfest…

“She’d already attracted admiring glances from the local author of a fantasy in which vampires rampage across the North Yorkshire Moors, as well as a literary agent from London whom she’d never seen sober, and a couple of disreputable-looking sci-fi writers.”

Buy it because it’s in a good cause…then read it because it’s good fun! Highly recommended!

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

30 thoughts on “In a Word: Murder – An Anthology edited by Margot Kinberg

  1. FictionFan – Thank you so much for taking the time to review In a Word: Murder. I am so pleased you enjoyed it, too – you made my month! Oh, and about Martin Edwards…I highly recommend his two series, the Lake District novels featuring DCI Hannah Scarlett and Oxford historian Daniel Kind; and his Liverpool-set Harry Devlin mysteries. Different kinds of series, but both of top quality. I was honoured he contributed to the anthology.


    • My pleasure, Margot! Glad you’re pleased. 😀

      Yes, I must investigate Martin Edwards’ books – I’ve heard his name (and a couple of the other contributors too, I think) but not read any of his novels. The Lake District ones sound interesting…


  2. Anthologies are great. The professor likes them lots. And this seems like a great collection of fun stories.

    I do have two questions. Do you ignore your own rules often? And did you dream evening also include a katana fight?


    • It is! E-book only, though, I’m afraid…

      The only reason to have rules is for the pleasure of breaking them. (Oh dear, that sounds like one of Shnoddy’s proverbs… )

      I didn’t want to be critical but yes, if she’d only included a katana fight, a Professor and a chocolate pudding, it would have been perfect… 😉


      • How horrid. I do feel I’ll be forced to get one of those things one day…

        The professor might quote you–if you don’t mind. That’s pretty good. I knew you were creative!

        A professor? 😆 And cashews and cherries.


        • The Kindle Fire HD is a thing of beauty and wonder. It’s never more than 4ft away from me – filled not only with the world’s best literature (and Mark Twain) but also with great music and all the glories of the internet…

          I would be honored (see? I even dropped the ‘u’) – though I still prefer my one about the wise women. I wonder why the Professor didn’t appreciate that one? 😉

          Well, if people are going to be wielding katanas, I’d need the Professor to hide behind! No, no, no! No cashews – this is my dream evening, not yours! (So what would be yours, anyway?)


          • Oh, the beast has internet too, does it? How interesting. But I don’t know…

            So would the professor! (Not sure about Shnodgrate, but I’m in charge.) Glad you dropped the u, looks much better. Shnodgrate would probably get really angry then, no joke.

            The professor is a bit surprised that your dream evening would have a katana fight, but I approve of it. Mine? Hmm…I’m not really sure. I don’t even know how to go about thinking about it.


            • And Bluetooth – it’s currently sending music straight from the cloud to my speakers… And don’t forget audiobooks… (I should really get a job as a Kindle salesperson…)

              Do I care if old Shnoddy gets angry? I’m not scared – bet I could outrun him any day!

              A bit of danger would add spice to the evening and give a perfect excuse for that second glass (bottle?) of wine… That’s awful! I don’t believe someone with the Professor’s creativity couldn’t summon up a lovely daydream…


            • The professor isn’t even sure what Bluetooth is, but it sounds impressive.

              Does FEF run regularly? Shnoddy isn’t the athletic type, for sure.

              Bottle? 😆 😆

              How you talk! The professor isn’t creative at all, I fear. Not a drop of it.


            • Haha! I didn’t know what it was till I got the Kindle…

              Yes, very regularly. Every 5 years without fail for at least 10 metres. I didn’t think he would be somehow…

              Well, it is France after all!

              Nonsense! You’ll be trying to tell me any time now that…ahem…Mic…is the creative one…


            • Laughing at both of us really…

              Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah! My dream evening could only take place in France – Paris, preferably. In fact, there’s a little cafe just opposite the Ile de la Cite…

              Ah, yes of course the PL’ers are quite real, but the Professor creates the plays they act in…


  3. Sounds great. I hadn’t realised that your friend Margot was a crime writer – I shall rush off immediately and try one of her books!


  4. Don’t know about Whitby but you should come to another North Yorkshire town – Harrogate – next July – for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.


    • Hello there! And welcome! Yes, I keep meaning to go to one of the festivals and the Harrogate one always sounds like one of the best. I must seriously think about it next year…


  5. So very pleased you broke your own rule and reviewed In A Word: Murder to which I am proud to have contributed two short stories. It is in a good cause but I think that even if the anthology had not been written in aid of The Princess Alice Hospice, there would have been something for everyone within its pages – if you enjoy crime stories that is. Thanks so much for the review and I do hope your readers will give it a whirl. Thanks again.


    • My pleasure, Jane, and thanks for commenting! I agree – a good read even if it weren’t for such a good cause. And enough variation within the stories for there to be something to suit anyone, I’d think. 🙂


      • I agree and it was such fun to do as well. I loved reading all the stories and have since wandered off to investigate the other authors further. I’ve done a few charity books in the past and it is always nice to think that something I worked on for a while will benefit others for a long time to come. Warm feeling. 🙂


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