A collection showcasing the short story talents of the collective known as the Murder Squad—featuring several award-winning and highly acclaimed crime writers
The Murder Squad all share a special passion for crime, which is reflected in this superb new volume of previously unpublished tales. Funny and sad, atmospheric and dark, ingenious and frightening, each of the 13 stories in this collection—two or three from each contributor—will thrill lovers of crime fiction. In "The Habit of Silence", DI Vera Stanhope—whom Ann Cleeves developed "Because I was so cross with even feminist writers writing female central characters who were young, fit and beautiful. Vera isn't any of those things. She's overweight and middle-aged."—investigates the case of the body in the library. In Martin Edwards' "The People Outside," a tight-knit community is ripped apart by violence, and a lust for vengeance. Cath Staincliffe's "Boom!" is the explosive story of murder in Manchester. Margaret Murphy tells of a Liverpool lad troubled by a mortal sin, in "The Message." The title story is by Stuart Pawson, and asks Why would a writer want to plot revenge? In Cleeves' second offering, "Basic Skills," Maddy thought that books could change lives—but so can murder. Staincliffe's "Laptop" features a laptop thief who takes more than she bargained for. "Act of Contrition," by Murphy, asks if Janice is pleading for forgiveness—or seeking something more sinister? When a rich man's butler vanishes, in Edwards' "The Case of the Musical Butler," Sherlock Holmes is asked to investigate. Cleeves' "Mud" tells of a woman remembering the past, betrayal, and a death. "Riviera" by Staincliffe explores the question When you look in a mirror, who do you see? Pawson tell of a Christmas in prison—but goodwill is in short supply, in "Sprouts." At the end of a book, an index tells a tale of murder, in Edwards' "InDex."
The second Murder Squad anthology (after 2001 s Murder Squad) showcases the talents of five British authors: Ann Cleeves, Martin Edwards, Margaret Murphy, Stuart Pawson, and Cath Staincliffe. The 13 stories range from a high-quality Sherlock Holmes pastiche to grim tales of revenge. Edwards channels Doyle effectively in The Case of the Musical Butler, in which a nobleman seeks the detective s help in tracing a gifted servant who has inexplicably disappeared about the same time as some bloodstained clothing was found on his estate. In Pawson s title tale, a number of short story writers realize that they ve all been victimized by a bestselling plagiarist and plot their retribution. Cleeves s Basic Skills, despite its brevity, packs a vicious final punch to the gut. Fans of British crime fiction will find a lot to like.