Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for The Crime Writers’ Association Vintage Crime edited by Martin Edwards.
The CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) was founded in 1953 by John Creasey,and organises the prestigious CWA Dagger Awards which celebrate the best in crime writing. The CWA is a pro-active, thriving and ever-expanding community of writers based in the UK but with a reach that extends worldwide.
Buy The CWA Vintage Crime
About the Editor – Martin Edwards is the author of eighteen novels, including the Lake District Mysteries,and the Harry Devlin series. His ground-breaking genre study The Golden Age of Murder has won the Edgar, Agatha,and H.R.F. Keating awards. He has edited twenty eight crime anthologies, has won the CWA Short Story Dagger and the CWA Margery Allingham Prize,and is series consultant for the British Library’s Crime Classics. In 2015, he was elected eighth President of the Detection Club, an office previously held by G.K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie,and Dorothy L. Sayers.
About the Authors
Sins of Scarlet by Robert Barnard – Robert Barnard (1936–2013) had a distinguished career as an academic before he became a full-time writer. His first crime novel, Death of an Old Goat, was written while he was professor of English at the University of Tromso in Norway, the world’s most northerly university. Under the name of Bernard Bastable he also wrote novels featuring Mozart as a detective. He regarded Agatha Christie as his ideal crime writer and published an appreciation of her work, A Talent to Deceive, as well as a book on Dickens, a history of English literature. He received the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award in 2003.
The Nuggy Bar by Simon Brett – Simon Brett OBE is the author of over one hundred books and many plays for radio and the theatre. He has published four series of detective novels (the Charles Paris, Mrs Pargeter, Fethering, and Blotto & Twinks mysteries) as well as stand-alone novels such as A Shock to the System, which was adapted into a film with Michael Caine in the lead. Visit simonbrett.com
Footprint in the Sky by John Dickson Carr – John Dickson Carr (1906–1977) is widely regarded as the most gifted of all exponents of the locked room mystery. A native of Pennsylvania, he relocated to Britain after marrying an Englishwoman, and pursued a career as a detective novelist with a taste for the baroque. His first Great Detective, the French examining magistrate Henri Bencolin, was succeeded by Dr Gideon Fell, a rumbustious character modelled on G.K. Chesterton, whom Carr much admired. As Carter Dickson, he wrote primarily about Sir Henry Merrivale, a baronet and barrister who shared Fell’s penchant for solving baffling impossible crimes. Carr also created Colonel March, and a television series, Colonel March of Scotland Yard, ran from 1955-56, with Boris Karloff cast as March.
In Those Days by Liza Cody – Liza Cody is an artist trained at the Royal Academy Schools of Art as well as a crime novelist. Dupe, her first novel, won the John Creasey Memorial Dagger, and launched a series about the female private investigator Anna Lee, which was televised with Imogen Stubbs in the lead role. She has also published the Bucket Nut Trilogy featuring professional wrestler Eva Wylie, as well as stand-alone novels such as Rift, Gimme More, Ballad of a Dead Nobody, and Miss Terry. She has won a CWA Silver Dagger, an Anthony award, and a Marlowe in Germany. Visit lizacody.com
Nowhere to be Found by Mat Coward – Mat Coward writes crime fiction, SF, humour and children’s fiction. He is also gardening columnist on the Morning Star newspaper. His short stories have been nominated for the Edgar and shortlisted for the Dagger, published on four continents, translated into several languages, and broadcast on BBC Radio. Over the years he has also published novels, books about radio comedy, and collections of funny press cuttings, and written columns for dozens of magazines and newspapers. Visit matcoward.com
The Egyptian Garden by Marjorie Eccles – Marjorie Eccles is the author of a series of thirteen contemporary novels about Inspector Gil Mayo; the stories were adapted for television by the BBC in 2006 with the impressionist and actor Alistair McGowan cast as Mayo. A prolific short story writer, she has won the Agatha award, and currently writes crime novels set in the first half of the twentieth century.
Melusine by Martin Edwards – Martin Edwards’latest novel, Mortmain Hall, is a sequel to Gallows Court, which was nominated for both the 2019 eDunnit award for best crime novel and the CWA Historical Dagger. He was recently honoured with the CWA Dagger in the Library for his body of work and has received the Edgar, Agatha, H.R.F. Keating and Poirot awards, two Macavity awards, the CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Prize, and the CWA Short Story Dagger. He is consultant to the British Library’s Crime Classics, a former chair of the Crime Writers’Association, and current President of the Detection Club. Visit martinedwardsbooks.com
Top Deck by Kate Ellis – Kate Ellis’s first novel, The Merchant House, launched the long-running DI Wesley Peterson series set in Devon. She has also written five crime novels featuring another cop, Joe Plantagenet, set in fictionalised version of York, and a trilogy set in the immediate aftermath of the First World War as well as many short stories. She won the CWA Dagger in the Library in 2019. The Devil’s Priest is a stand-alone historical mystery set in Liverpool. Visit kateellis.co.uk
Turning Point by Anthea Fraser – Anthea Fraser’s first professional publications were short stories. Her first novel was published in 1970, and she wrote books with paranormal themes and romantic suspense stories before turning to crime fiction. She has created two mystery novel series, the first featuring DCI David Webb, and the second featuring Rona Parish, a biographer and journalist. She has also published novels under the pseudonym Vanessa Graham.
The Woman Who Had Everything by Celia Fremlin – Celia Fremlin (1914–2009) was born in Kent and educated at Berkhamsted School for Girls and Somerville College, Oxford, where she read classics and philosophy. During the Second World War she worked for the Mass Observation project, an experience that resulted in her first published book, War Factory, which recorded the experiences and attitudes of women war workers in a radar equipment factory outside Malmesbury, Wiltshire. Her first published novel of suspense was The Hours Before Dawn, which won the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe award for best crime novel in 1960. Over the next 35 years she published a further eighteen titles, including three collections of stories.
Cold and Deep by Frances Fyfield – Frances Fyfield worked as a solicitor for the Crown Prosecution Service, thus ‘learning a bit about murder at second hand’. Later, writing became her vocation, although the law and its ramifications have influenced many of her novels. Her Helen West books have been adapted for television, and she is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4. Her non-series novel Blood from Stone won the Gold Dagger. Visit francesfyfield.co.uk
Money is Honey by Michael Gilbert – Michael Gilbert (1912–2006) received the CWA Diamond Dagger and was made a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America. His experience as a prisoner of war in Italy provide background material for Death in Captivity, one of the finest British “impossible crime”stories of the post-war era, and filmed as Danger Within. By the time of its appearance, Gilbert was well-established as a partner in a prestigious law firm, and had also made a name for himself as an author of considerable talent. His urbanity is reflected in the smooth, readable prose of his whodunits, thrillers, spy stories, legal mysteries, and police stories. He was equally adept at writing novels, stage plays, radio plays, and television scripts.
The Perfect Alibi by Paula Gosling – Paula Gosling is American, but moved to England in the 1960s. A former copywriter, she received the John Creasey Memorial Dagger for her debut, A Running Duck (which has been filmed twice, once as Cobra, starring Sylvester Stallone), and the Gold Dagger for her first Jack Stryker novel, Monkey Puzzle. She is also the author of the Luke Abbott and Blackwater Bay series, and of several stand-alones.
Cuckoo in the Wood by Lesley Grant-Adamson – Lesley Grant-Adamson gave up her job as a feature writer on the Guardian to write fiction. Her first novel, Patterns in the Dust, was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’Association’s John Creasey award for first crime novels. Like several of her early novels, it featured newspaper folk and their ailing industry. She has written further crime novels of various types, and her wide experience of writing crime fiction, led to a commission for Writing Crime and Suspense Fiction, subsequently updated as Writing Crime Fiction.
All She Wrote by Mick Herron – Mick Herron is a novelist and short story writer whose books include the Sarah Tucker/ Zoë Boehm series and the standalone novel Reconstruction. He is the author of the acclaimed Jackson Lamb series, the second of which, Dead Lions, won the Gold Dagger. His novels have regularly appeared on award shortlists and Spook Street won the Steel Dagger and the Last Laugh Award. Visit mickherron.com
Inspector Ghote and the Noted British Author by HRF Keating – H.R.F. Keating (1926–2011) published five stand-alone novels before introducing the Indian policeman Inspector Ghote in The Perfect Murder, which won the Gold Dagger. The Ghote series continued for over forty years. Another novel set in India, The Murder of the Maharajah, also won a Gold Dagger, and Keating received the Diamond Dagger in recognition of his lifetime achievements in the genre He was also a leading critic and commentator, whose books include Writing Crime Fiction and studies of Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. Visit hrfkeating.com
The Service Flat by Bill Knox – Bill Knox (1928–99) was a Scottish author, journalist and broadcaster, best known for his crime novels and for presenting the long-running STV series Crimedesk. He began writing crime novels in the 1950s and often wrote under pen-names such as Michael Kirk, Robert MacLeod and Noah Webster., especially for the American market. He published over fifty crime novels, notably the “Thane and Moss”series. His final novel, The Lazarus Widow, was unfinished at the time of his death, and was completed by Martin Edwards.
The Hand That Feeds Me by Michael Z. Lewin – Michael Zinn Lewin is an American-born author perhaps best known for his series about the private detective Albert Samson, based in Indianapolis. Lewin himself grew up in Indianapolis, but has lived in England for more than forty years. Much of his fiction continues to be set in Indianapolis, including a secondary series about the cop Leroy Powder. A series set in Bath, England, features the Lunghis, who run their detective agency as a family business. Visit michaelzlewin.com
With Corpse by Peter Lovesey – Peter Lovesey had already published a successful book about athletics when he won a competition with his first crime fiction novel, Wobble to Death, which launched a series about the Victorian detective Sergeant Cribb. Since then, his many books and short stories have won or been shortlisted for nearly all the major prizes in the international crime writing world. He has been presented with Lifetime Achievement awards both in the UK and the US. Visit peterlovesey.com
Moving On by Susan Moody – Susan Moody’s first crime novel, Penny Black, was published in 1984, the first in a series of seven books featuring amateur sleuth Penny Wanawake. She has written a number of suspense thrillers, and in 1993 introduced a series of crime novels with a new central character, Cassandra Swann. Misselthwaite was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’Association Award in 1995, while The Colour of Hope, the story of a family struggling to cope with the loss of their daughter in a boating accident, was written under the name Susan Madison, as is her most recent title, Touching the Sky.
Strolling in the Square One Day by Julian Symons – Julian Symons (1912–1994) was an eminent crime writer and critic of the genre as well as being a biographer, poet, editor, and social and military historian. His early detective novels were relatively orthodox, but he soon became dissatisfied with the conventions of the classic form and began in the early 1950s to develop the British psychological crime novel. He received the Gold Dagger for The Colour of Murder and an Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America for The Progress of a Crime. In 1990 he received the CWA Diamond Dagger in recognition of his outstanding career in the genre and he was also a Grand Master of the MWA. He wrote an influential history of the genre, Bloody Murder.
The Woman Who Loved Elizabeth David by Andrew Taylor – Andrew Taylor’s crime novels include a series about William Dougal, starting with Caroline Miniscule, which won the John Creasey Memorial Dagger, the Roth Trilogy, which was televised as Fallen Angel, the Lydmouth series, stand-alone novels such as The American Boy, and much else besides. He has won the Historical Dagger three times and also the Diamond Dagger, as well as earning awards in Sweden and the US. Visit lydmouth.co.uk
About the book
Vintage Crimes is an CWA anthology with a difference, celebrating members’ work over the years. The book gathers stories from the mid 1950s until the twenty-first century by great names of the past, great names of the present together with a few hidden treasures by less familiar writers. The first CWA anthology, Butcher’s Dozen,appeared in 1956,and was co-edited by Julian Symons, Michael Gilbert, and Josephine Bell. The anthology has been edited by Martin Edwards since 1996,and has yielded many award winning and nominated stories in the UK and overseas.
This new edition includes an array of incredible and award-winning authors: Robert Barnard, Simon Brett, Liza Cody, Mat Coward, John Dickson Carr, Marjorie Eccles, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, Anthea Fraser, Celia Fremlin, Frances Fyfield, Michael Gilbert, Paula Gosling, Lesley Grant-Adamson, HRF Keating, Bill Knox, Peter Lovesey, Mick Herron, Michael Z. Lewin, Susan Moody, Julian Symons and Andrew Taylor.
This is another fantastic anthology by the Crime Writers’ Association, this time it comes under the title of Vintage Crime and includes old masters of crime, new ones and those well on the path to being masters of their craft.
It’s hard to do an anthology and its stories real justice, because reviewing each short story leaves little for other readers to discover and would make for a massive review, so instead I have just picked a few to focus on.
All She Wrote by Mick Herron – This story is what I would call the brutal cynical truth about working for those in charge of keeping us safe. People, their lives and their dignity, are expendable. The greater good they will say – sacrifice a few to save many. Also excellent note to end the book on.
The Perfect Alibi by Paula Gosling -This short story has the vibe of a Hill Street Blues police episode. Vintage policing with a moral at the end of the story – there is no need to act dodgy unless you have something to hide.
Strolling in the Square One Day by Julian Symons – Old school Tinker Tailor, Soldier Spy with a pigeon whisperer PI as the main character. It has the vibe of a Chandler in a class distinction setting.
Footprint in the Sky by John Dickson Carr – The way grief can drive emotions, even in those who seem quiet and timid, and yet those are the ones most likely to surprise everyone with a sudden act of aggression, revenge or perhaps even murder. Or is this just a case of wrong place at the wrong time and someone waiting in the wings for the perfect patsy?
There isn’t a common theme that plays throughout, other than crime obviously, but rather a glimpse of the art of writing through the eyes of each writer. A story for every reader.
Buy The CWA Vintage Crime at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Flame Tree Press; pub date 11 Aug. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy Vintage Crime at Flame Tree
Go to cwa.co.uk to read more about Vintage Crime