Murder Squad on the case with their 2nd Anthology, Best Eaten Cold.
Crime writing collective, Murder Squad, launched their latest anthology Best Eaten Cold (History Press) on September 1st. The collective, founded by Margaret Murphy and consisting of fellow best-selling authors Stuart Pawson, Cath Staincliffe Ann Cleeves and, the anthology’s editor Martin Edwards, are the first crime writing consortium to pool resources and find that simply being around fellow writers helps the process along. “We’ve had a wonderful decade-plus together, and I’ve loved being part of it,” Martin explained, “but above all, it is the companionship, the ability to share good times and bad with great friends who have a deep understanding of the ups and downs of a writer’s life, that has been most fulfilling.”
So what did Martin look for when compiling the anthology? “I was keen to make sure that this book offered readers a good deal of variety, not just different authors, but differing types of story. So my contributions, for instance, include a Sherlockian pastiche as well as something much darker and more contemporary. And the stories – for instance Stuart Pawson’s two contributions – vary a good deal in length as well as tone and style. Stuart, besides being a very witty writer, is also a skilled plotsmith Margaret is, in her short stories as in her novels, a gifted exponent of the art of characterisation, whose people always come alive, sometimes with unexpected and dramatic consequences whereas Ann and Cath are both wonderful writers, whose work is infused with compassion. Ann is superb at describing also does rural settings, as the success of Vera on TV has shown, and Cath is a sharp observer of contemporary social mores, and especially good with urban locales. What we have with Best Eaten Cold, we think, is something for every crime fiction fan.”
For up-and-coming writers as well as best sellers, the short story is an art form in itself and one that Martin embraces. “They offer a great opportunity to experiment, and I love writing two or three in between each novel. And you can’t hide in a short story, every word has to count. So writing them is a great way of honing your skills. Be clear, be concise, be creative and you won’t go too far wrong, is what I would suggest to anybody entering a short story competition.”
So where can readers catch up with Murder Squad and what’s next for Martin Edwards outside the collective? “We have a gig at Lingham’s in Heswall on Wirral on 7 November and hope to showcase the book at the Newcastle Winter Books Festival later that month. As to me, The Hanging Wood came out in hardback recently, and now – belatedly! – I’m turning my attention to the sixth Lake District Mystery featuring Hannah Scarlett and Daniel Kind, both through Alison & Busby. It’s very busy but, as a writer, for that I am always grateful.”
© Writers' News Magazine 2011
For more information: http://www.murdersquad.co.uk
Martin Edwards book reviews: