Vintage Crimes is a 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.

Vintage Crime BT Poster

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, H RF Keating, Bill Knox, Peter Lovesey, Mick Herron, Michael Z. Lewin, Susan Moody, Julian Symons and Andrew Taylor.

@annecater #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours

Vintage Crime cover

My Review

As soon as I saw Andrew Taylor’s name on the list I just knew I had to read this anthology. His short story The Woman Who Loved Elizabeth David is as good as I would expect from one of my favourite all time writers. Because he is quite local to me I get all excited when he mentions Cheltenham and The Everyman Theatre!

However my favourite story has to be The Nuggy Bar by Simon Brett. I love the pedantry of the main character as he plots to kill his step-daughter in order to claim her inheritance after her mum dies. He treats her murder like managing and marketing a new product at work, but with added dark humour and repetition eg GLISS HANDY MOPPITS (IDEAL FOR THE KITCHEN, NURSERY OR HANDBAG) which is repeated in full over and over.  It reminds me of a short story I wrote about 10 years ago called Double Bill (I’m not boasting here though it is available on Kindle!!) – it just uses the same device of repeating things for effect. I kept thinking ‘did I write this?’ Ha ha I wish.

Some of the stories such as Inspector Ghote and the Noted British Author by HRF Keating are quite strange. It was written in 1985. I would have guessed it was much earlier. But I do like the one about the painting of a murder – Interior with Corpse by Peter Lovesey – and the references to Walter Sickert who was once thought to be Jack the Ripper as he painted exact scenes from the gory murders of prostitutes. I also loved Top Deck by Kate Ellis in which budding policeman Keith thinks he sees a murder from the top deck of the bus. Cold and Deep by Frances Fyfield is very sinister, while Melusine by Martin Edwards gripped me to the end, but was also very unnerving and the descriptions of the foot and mouth incident brought back horrible memories and scenes of burning dead cows on TV.

These are just a few of the 22 stories. They are not necessarily the best. Just my own personal favourites (or not in the case of Inspector Ghote …). Many are very different from the murder mysteries and psychological thrillers we are so obsessed with today and move at a slower pace. No instant gratification in the fifties and sixties. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Sleep well and don’t have nightmares!

Many thanks to @annecater for letting me be part of #RandomThingsTours and to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Martin Edwards is consultant to the British Library’s Crime Classics series, and has written sixteen contemporary whodunits, including The Coffin Trail, which was shortlisted for the Theakston’s Prize for best crime novel of the year. His genre study The Golden Age of Murder won the Edgar, Agatha, H.R.F. Keating and Macavity awards, while The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books has been nominated for two awards in the UK and three in the US. Editor of 38 anthologies, he has also won the CWA Short Story Dagger and the CWA Margery Allingham Prize, and been nominated for an Anthony, the CWA Dagger in the Library, the CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger, and a CWA Gold Dagger. He is President of the Detection Club and Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, and Archivist of both organisations. He has received the Red Herring award for services to the CWA, and the Poirot award for his outstanding contribution to the crime genre.

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.

1 Comment on “Vintage Crime by Martin Edwards (Editor)

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