Tag Archives: Martin Edwards

A Surprise for Christmas

Be still my beating heart. I now know how Daughter felt when I unintentionally kept interrupting her while reading the longest of the short stories in the Christmas anthology A Surprise for Christmas. Or I think I do. I’m all shaky and disturbed and that adrenaline is pumping.

This will no doubt be because these stories are extremely well chosen. Martin Edwards as the editor of the series clearly knows what he’s doing, down to getting the order of the stories right. The ‘long one’ was the antepenultimate story, and it was followed by two more that didn’t calm me down quite as much as I would have liked.

Well.

There was not a single dud in this collection. You’d think at some point editors would run out of material from which to choose. But not yet. It looks like many of them originally were published in papers and magazines, just before Christmas, and when I think of it, it’s obvious that this would have been a big market. Good for writers to have short stories published and good for magazine editors to have suitable entertainment for their readers.

I’m not sure, but I suspect this market is no longer as big. Or it could be I don’t read the right publications, or not enough of them.

But here they are all collected for me, and I can see I will not only become a serial user of anthologies, but some of the hitherto unknown [to me] authors are calling to me to look out for their crime novels as well. I will need a lot of time to read. And preferably nerves of steel. Anthony Gilbert’s Give Me a Ring (aka the ‘long one’) scared me as much as Philip Pullman’s Tiger in the Well did.

It was preceded by [more comfortable] stories from Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh and countless others. Have a go yourself, unless the lack of Christmas stops you. Or save it for next November/December.

Thoughts on Christmas shorts

For her birthday I got Daughter a Christmas crime anthology, edited by Martin Edwards. (How that man manages to fit so much into his time, I will never know!) I reckoned she’d enjoy reading about gruesomeness at Christmas, or rather, in the run-up to that peaceful time. In the snow. She did. She hinted she wanted more (because the clever publisher listed further reading suggestions at the back of the book).

I had calculated on this success, so had obviously bought her a second collection, also edited by Martin. We just had to wait for Christmas to come. And after watching the event with Val McDermid last month, Daughter felt that Val’s new Christmas murder story anthology would also be essential for her happiness.

I shopped some more.

Now I have started reading the first one, the birthday gift, and it’s very promising. The trouble is, I feel these stories really are best consumed during the month, or so, around Christmas. And I’m running out of time here. Once the sprouts have been cooked and the dishwasher’s been seen to, and a few other chores, I appear to have very little time left.

Other people watch endless television and go for walks and do jigsaw puzzles and even read books. (You should have seen me watch the other two do a jigsaw. I might have managed to put about 25 pieces in their places, but they were left to find the other 975. I did the green bits. There were not many green bits at all.)

At this rate I’ll be saving the anthologies for December 2021.

Bookwitch bites #108

Please open your wallets and empty your bank accounts (just a little) for Donna Moore. After a year of almost complete silence this lovely writer and fan of crime emailed to ask for money. Seeing as it’s for a good cause (Glasgow Women’s Library), I decided not to object, and even to pass her request on to you. Donna’s already got 98% of what she hopes to raise, so you (yes, you) could be the one to tip the scales and make her agonising ten km run, excuse me, walk, a total success.

Donna Moore

Rather her than me, I say. It’s tomorrow, so don’t delay. (It’s going to rain, isn’t it?)

Aside from her work for this unusual library, I believe Donna is working on the Bristol CrimeFest, which is now sold out. That’s great news, except for those of us who are not travelling down to Bristol in three weeks’ time to rub shoulders with the best of crime.

Someone who’s going to be there is Martin Edwards, who recently did some travelling of the kind that instantly caused his facebook friends and blog readers to turn green. Martin travelled on the Orient Express, and it looks even more marvellous in his photos than I had imagined. And as I went looking for the link, I couldn’t help noticing that his crime blog currently resembles a seductive holiday brochure. I’m going to have camp outside Martin’s house and follow him wherever he goes.

Instead of sponsored running or walking, I can see myself living it up on an elegant train. Or hotel. Or just some downright wonderful seaside.

I should get out more.

Bookwitch bites #73

How about we go totally miscellaneous today? I feel all higgledy piggledy, completely lacking in plans and any greater pictures.

This lovely pirate photo appeared before me only yesterday. It’s really Marie-Louise Jensen behind that mask, and I gather the handsome young assistant pirate is her son. I wholeheartedly approve of people who make full use of their children, and junior is to be admired for agreeing to be dressed up. The event was for Marie-Louise’s new book, aptly titled The Girl in the Mask.

Marie-Louise Jensen

In fact, authors who dress up to ‘go to work’ in support of their work are to be admired. Normal people just have normal clothes to fret over. Have you even considered what it must feel like to get on the bus dressed like a pirate?

Stephen Davies (of Ouagadougou fame, if you recall?) also has a new book out, which is anything but masked, seeing as it’s called Goggle-Eyed Goats. I’ve not read it, and am very intrigued about Stephen’s comment re polygamy. That’s  not your typical topic for a young child’s book, but no doubt reading it will reveal all. Sort of.

I am busy missing book events here. Friday night saw Joan Bakewell at the Stockport Plaza, launching yet another new book. It’s an adult novel, so I know nothing. The reason I heard about the event was that Mrs Pendolino mentioned that her father, being childhood pals with the beautiful Joan, was wanting to go along and renew the friendship. I hope he had a good time.

And I probably won’t be going to Formby. At least not this Thursday evening, because it’s a long way and it will be dark. But I do want to. I have been meaning to visit Tony Higginson’s bookshop, and the weeks and months are simply slipping by. The fact that I won’t be there is no reason for the rest of you not going, so do pop along if Formby is within your reach.

Tony is offering a Night of Crime, for a mere £3, at six o’clock on Thursday 15th March. The ‘criminals’ are two favourites of mine, Kate Ellis and Martin Edwards, who both write crime novels, and they do it much closer to home than Formby, so perhaps I should ask them round for tea instead of haring across Lancashire in the dark.

Actually, once you start looking for events (not) to go to, there is no end of them. Although I am not totally ruling out Stephen Booth, another fairly local crime writer, at the library in Dukinfield on Wednesday. That’s at ten in the morning, so will require getting out of bed. I know they all do, but not as early.

I’ll think about it. I am always more willing the further away it is in time…

Things I’m not doing

That would be almost everything, so I will give you the abridged version, skipping household chores issues.

The last four days I haven’t been in Bristol, rubbing shoulders with crime writers galore. Although I would have liked to, obviously. The list of participants at the Bristol CrimeFest reads like a Who’s Who in crime. Saturday night was the gala dinner, with Colin Dexter.

Oh well, who cares? It would have been too hot, anyway… And I’m sure all my crime blogging colleagues will fill me in on what fun they had. Karen at Euro Crime seems to have had a lucky quiz night again.

Stephen Booth is someone else who wasn’t in Bristol, which can be explained by the fact that he was in Stockport on Saturday morning. I had wanted to be there, too, but that was another thing I didn’t do. If I hadn’t read about it on Stephen’s website I wouldn’t have known this town had a Culture Feast going on, but that’s why he did an event here with Anna Dean and Anna Chilvers. Clearly the thing is to be called Anna.

Also, will not be telling you of the book I’m reading. Yet. It’s been embargoed, so I’ll do a little something later. It’s to do with crime, and quite interesting, really. I’m not sure I believe in embargoes. Is it better if the news explode all over the place on the same day? Some early appetisers can work well on occasion.

Since I’m not in Bristol this morning, packing my suitcase (which is a small bonus) I’ll leave you with the link to the blog written by Martin Edwards. While I’m busy telling you of non-events, I have to own up to not having read anything of Martin’s yet. I blame it on the fact that the book I was recommended was out of print when I searched for it. But I must.

I know why I mentioned Martin here. It may be less clear to you. Martin is in Bristol, where he has moderated a few panels. I was impressed by his moderation skills two years ago. Could be because he’s a solicitor, which I’m only mentioning because my penultimate paragraph made me think of this.

Going round in circles. Sorry.

Pink and lovely

Another award! I don’t know what to say. Shall I cry? Say something really soppy?

No. No need. I’m bad enough in my daily goings-on that I shouldn’t make it any worse than it already is.

Lovely Blog Award

I found to my surprise that I was listed on Lucy Coats’s blog, and I think my task is to point this out to you, and to list my ten favourite blogs. As Mary Hoffman said on her blog, that’s hard when Lucy had already picked many of Mary’s daily reads. So I’ll pick mine, but will avoid all those mentioned elsewhere, who by default have their award and don’t need it again.

My ten:

Donna Moore at Big Beat From Badsville

Adrian McKinty at The Psychopathology of Everyday Life

Sara Paretsky at Sara Paretsky Blog

Annika Bryn at Annika Bryns Blog

Jeff Cohen et al at Hey, There’s a Dead Guy in the Living Room

Dorte Jakobsen at DJS Krimiblog

Martin Edwards at Do You Write Under Your Own Name?

Barbara Fister at Scandinavian Crime Fiction

Lisa Rullsenberg at Rullsenberg Rules

Monica Edinger at Educating Alice

Pretty criminal, in other words.

And between you and me, it’s the compliments in the comments box or by email directly to me that make me sit down and cry a little. Thank you so much.