Monday, 7 November 2016

Crimson Snow


                                             
This week sees the publication of Crimson Snow, the latest British Library Crime Classic. It's an anthology of winter mysteries that I've put together on behalf of the Library, and I'm delighted that early orders have been very impressive. There's a special edition for Waterstones, with a slightly different colour selection for the cover. And in the Library's Classic Crime pop-up shop you can even find bags and coasters emblazoned with the cover artwork. All very gratifying..

But what of the content of the book? After all, despite all the lovely enthusiasm for Classic Crime cover artwork, content remains the most important thing.There are a dozen stories - slightly fewer than in other BL anthologies, but that is because one of the stories is more like a novella, meaning that it's actually a chunky volume. The long story in question is "Death in December" by Victor Gunn, and I'm confident it will be familiar to very few readers.

The same is true of some of the other contributions, including "Murder at Christmas", a Ludovic Travers story by Christopher Bush, and "Off the Tiles" by Ianthe Jerrold (this may well appeal to readers who have enjoyed her crime novels, reissued in recent times by Dean Street Press). There are also some major names, including Margery Allingham, Edgar Wallace, and Julian Symons. 

When I put together Silent Nights, an anthology of Yuletide mysteries, for the British Library last year, I didn't envisage that there would be enough material to justify another seasonal collection like this. But once I started researching I was pleasantly surprised. And there's a nice bonus, too. Thanks to information given to me by Jamie Sturgeon, I was able to include "Mr Cork's Secret", by Macdonald Hastings, a Christmas puzzle mystery which originally appeared in "Lilliput" magazine. Prizes were given and the solution to the puzzle was printed in a subsequent issue. No prizes this time - you'll have to enter the "Murder at Magenta Manor" competition at the Library itself to win some books - but the solution is printed at the back of the book. All in all, I'm very hopeful that crime fans will find in Crimson Snow, and also in Silent Nights, plenty to enjoy, as well as a pleasing solution to their Christmas present-giving dilemmas!
                  
                                       


11 comments:

TomCat said...

This will probably not come as a big surprise, but the Victor Gunn novella, which is an impossible crime story, is the sole reason for getting this anthology. All of the other stories, like the one by Jerrold, are merely the sprinkles on top.

Martin Edwards said...

An interesting perspective, TomCat, thanks. My own guess is that readers will, as usual with anthologies, vary in their preferences. The Cork story is virtually unknown, for instance, and I think the interactive element will appeal to quite a lot of people.

Val said...

The Cork is the irresistible ingredient for me!
I see the release date is January for the US (I know patience is a virtue but like other virtues it's not easy!)
Do you know if they'll release it as an ebook? and if so when?
if not I'm tempted to buy from amazon UK and have it mailed ... must resist temptation...frankly I just need a really good instant read as a badly needed antidote for election stress....

Val said...

forgot to say Brilliant find! THANKS

Martin Edwards said...

Val - thanks very much! I don't know about an ebook in the US but I shall try to find out. Hope the election works out as you wish!

Christine said...

I am so much looking forward to reading this - I love an impossible crime.

Jason Half said...

I am thrilled that you continue to discover and present new mystery gems for the British Library Crime Classics series, and the short fiction anthologies are particularly exciting for me. Crimson Snow sounds fantastic; thank you so much for all your work as a tireless GAD scholar, archivist, and editor/host.

On the subject of snow and mystery stories, have you read Gladys Mitchell's 1950 title Groaning Spinney? It's one of my favorites, and every time I read it, I'm transported to the snow-covered woods of the Cotswolds, tramping outdoors with Mrs. Bradley to find the buried body underneath. I would love to hear your view on the book if you've read it. All best wishes, and thank you again ---- Jason Half

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks very much, Jason. I haven't read Groaning Spinney, but I'm impressed by your recommendation and will try to track down a copy.

Jason Half said...

I hope you enjoy Groaning Spinney; I would love to hear what you think of it. Speaking of recommendations, I couldn't resist your description of The Grindle Nightmare in The Golden Age of Murder, and today have posted a review that celebrates both that enjoyable (but dark) book and your survey of The Detection Club. Thank you so much for bringing it -- and the Patrick Quentin/Q. Patrick series -- to my attention!

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks a lot, Jason - and I do like the review!

Judy said...

I'm thoroughly enjoying this collection and loved the Victor Gunn novella, with its clever plot. There's a slight touch of Bertie Wooster about the dialogue! Hoping that BLCC reissues one of his full-length novels in the future.