Today I am sharing my thoughts on the final three stories in Ten Year Stretch, the short story anthology celebrating ten years of CrimeFest. Unbelievably the convention starts tomorrow and I cannot wait. Massive thanks to publishers No Exit Press for providing an advance copy of the book for review. Let’s see what it’s all about.
About the book
Twenty superb new crime stories have been commissioned specially to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Crimefest, described by The Guardian as ‘one of the fifty best festivals in the world’.
A star-studded international group of authors has come together in crime writing harmony to provide a killer cocktail for noir fans; salutary tales of gangster etiquette and pitfalls, clever takes on the locked-room genre, chilling wrong-footers from the deceptively peaceful suburbs, intriguing accounts of tables being turned on hapless private eyes, delicious slices of jet black nordic noir, culminating in a stunning example of bleak amorality from crime writing doyenne Maj Sjowall.
The foreword is by international bestselling thriller writer Peter James. The editors are Martin Edwards, responsible for many award-winning anthologies, and Adrian Muller, CrimeFest co-founder.
All Royalties are donated to the RNIB Talking Books Library.
The contributors to Ten Year Stretch are: Bill Beverly, Simon Brett, Lee Child, Ann Cleeves, Jeffery Deaver, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, Peter Guttridge, Sophie Hannah, John Harvey, Mick Herron, Donna Moore, Caro Ramsay, Ian Rankin, James Sallis, Zoe Sharp, Yrsa Siguroardottir, Maj Sjowall, Michael Stanley and Andrew Taylor.
Long Time, No See – Maj Sjöwall (trans. Catherine Edwards)
Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (1926-1975) virtually created the modern detective novel. The ten police procedurals about Martin Beck and his colleagues were written in the 60s and 70s, and the series amounts to a literary treasure, which has influenced countless contemporary authors. Catherine Edwards was born in Cheshire and educated locally and at Lincoln College, Oxford, where she read German and Italian. A journalist, writer and translator, she speaks five languages and lives in Stockholm, where she writes about European news, politics and culture in her role as Europe Editor at The Local, an online news network.
Catherine Edwards was born in Cheshire and educated locally and at Lincoln College, Oxford, where she read German and Italian. A journalist, writer and translator, she speaks five languages and lives in Stockholm, where she writes about European news, politics and culture in her role as Europe Editor at The Local, an online news network.
I really liked this short story which starts in a rather simple way, following a woman, Blomman, who is down on her luck and searching for a safe place to bed for the night. Contrast this with the affluent Netta, who has everything and whose biggest concerns are recovering from a hangover and buying lobster for dinner so she doesn’t have to cook.
A stark contrast of fortunes is fed through this story, the scene set so beautifully that the twist is simple in execution but no less surprising for it. Great stuff.
The Ring – Michael Stanley
Michael Stanley is the writing partnership of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Their novels, featuring Detective Kubu, are set in Botswana, a fascinating country with magnificent conservation areas and varied peoples. The mysteries are set against current southern Africa issues such as the plight of the Bushman peoples, the pervasive power of witch doctors, blood diamonds, the growing Chinese influence, and biopiracy. Their books have been shortlisted for many awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger, the Edgar, and the International Thriller Writers Award.
Malele is a recycler, one of South Africa’s many who rely upon what has been thrown out by the wealthier of society in order to survive. After a falling out with one particularly harsh resident, he is set for a big surprise when he discovers something truly gruesome in her bin.
Oh I do love the writing team of Michael Stanley. Their Detective Kubu stories are brilliant. This short story was a real treat, giving a real sense of place as well as a perfect little mystery. All the clues are there, the writing light and entertaining. Loved it.
The Five Letter Word – Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor has won the CWA Diamond Dagger, the Historical Dagger (three times) and other awards. His books include the international bestseller, The American Boy; the Roth Trilogy (filmed for TV as Fallen Angel); the Dougal series and the Lydmouth series; and, most recently, The Times number one bestseller The Ashes of London and its sequel The Fire Court. He also reviews for the Spectator and The Times.
Called to a neighbour to investigate what looks like a simple case of vandalism turns into anything but for Chief Inspector Richard Thornhill. He is looking forward to a long and lazy Sunday lunch followed by a much needed holiday, but what he discovers puts paid to his lunch plans at the very least.
A cosy crime with a twist that turns it from simple destruction, albeit with a venomous tongue, to something far, far worse, I have to say My Taylor is a brave man. If you read it you will understand why. a great little story with a dark heart, I really grasped the idyllic setting and the unusual family dynamic, captured perfectly on the few short pages.
So there we have it. The final stories in the anthology. If you’d like to hear more about the others my reviews can be found at the following links:
In the meantime, if you’d like to pick up a copy and read for yourself you can find it at the following retailers:
Crimefest is tomorrow!!! It really is a brilliant festival, perfect for fans of the genre, readers, writers (and aspiring) alike and you can find out more about it right here. If you can’t join us in Bristol this year, it’s not too early to be making plans for 2019, trust me.
Hope to see you there …