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 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…)
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!