I've just received my author copy of Bodies in the Bookshop, edited by L.C. Tyler and Ayo Onatade, and published by Ostara Books in association with Richard Reynolds of Heffers Bookshop, Cambridge, who contributes a foreword. The idea of the book was to pay tribute to independent bookshops everywhere, and also to celebrate Heffers' annual "Bodies in the Bookshop" event.
The concept was that the stories would tackle one of four themes: books, bookshops, Cambridge, or libraries, although as things turned out, libraries do not really feature. Len, Ayo and Richard are three highly respected figures in the British crime writing community, and although I've never managed to attend the Heffers event because of day job commitments, when I was approached quite some time ago with a view to contributing a new story, I was more than happy to come up with an idea.
When time passed with no sign of the book appearing, however, I rewrote my story, and the revised version, called "Acknowledgments", happily for me, won the CWA Margery Allingham Prize. Then, at a time when I was unsure whether the anthology would come into being, Ostara - an admirable imprint - stepped in. They took over publication, and of course I had to write something fresh. The result was "Lucky Liam", which was inspired by my trip to the North East, and Hartlepool in particular, earlier this year. I'm delighted to see it in print, and my warmest congratulations go to Len, Ayo and Richard. Suffice to say that I suspect they now share my view that producing anthologies is trickier and more time-consuming than it may seem!
The sub-title of the book is "A literary showcase of crime stories from 20 masters of the genre", and I must say that the other authors include many of my favourites, including Peter Lovesey, Andrew Taylor and Simon Brett (all CWA Diamond Dagger winners) along with Christopher Fowler, Chris Ewan, Michelle Spring, Ann Cleeves, Kate Charles and...well the list goes on and on. I'm glad to be in such prestigious company. I've not yet read the other stories, but I'm very much looking forward to doing so.