Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Writing "The Sound of Secrecy"

I've published a couple of new short stories recently. "The Girl on the Bandwagon" appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and no prizes for guessing which branch of crime fiction it seeks to satirise! "The Sound of Secrecy" is to be found in a new anthology,  The Book of Extraordinary Historical Mystery Stories, published by Mango and edited by Maxim Jakubowski.

I came across the term "the sound of secrecy" last year, on a visit to Bletchley Park. It stuck in my mind, and I felt the urge to write a story about the war-time codebreakers of Bletchley. I had the beginnings of an idea, but it stubbornly refused to develop, which was frustrating.

Then Maxim announced the proposed publication of his book, and it sounded very appealing. Maxim has edited more than eighty anthologies, that is, more than twice as many as me, and he shares my love of the short story. In the past, he's included a number of my efforts in his books, and I told myself that the Bletchley Park story might find a very good home, if only I could breathe some life into it. 

The answer arrived unexpectedly. Last autumn, I went to St Helier to take part in a literary festival in Jersey, and had a little spare time, which enabled me to take a trip to Gorey and its splendid harbour and castle. Quite an inspirational place. Suddenly it struck me how I could write a story which shifted between wartime in Bletchley Park and the relatively recent past in Jersey. It was like finding a key to unlock a door.

Luckily for me, the story worked, and Maxim accepted it. I'm delighted to see "The Sound of Secrecy" appearing in his book alongside a host of good writers such as Sally Spedding, Kate Ellis, Linda Stratmann, Amy Myers, Jane Finnis, Michael Bracken and Paul Magrs. 


Art Taylor said...

Congratulations on both stories. I have the EQMM one, of course, but look forward to the other as well. Sounds fascinating. :-)

Graham Powell said...

I'm really enjoying this book so far, and your story was excellent. I found that most of the suspense and mystery was in the way you structured it - had it unfolded in a more straightforward way, it would not have been nearly as good.

Martin Edwards said...

Art, many thanks!

Martin Edwards said...

Graham, thank you. You've hit on the key point and you can probably see why I was struggling with the story until the Jersey angle occurred to me. It needed that "frame", as you say, to create suspense. I'm so glad you liked it.

Paul Beech said...

Hi Martin,

I’ve read “The Sound of Secrecy” twice, the second time, along with other stories in Maxim’s anthology, in a Flint pub a few days ago whilst waiting for a hugely expensive repair to be completed on my car. It sort of eased the pain somehow! In other words, I loved it.

The 1942 sections really capture the flavour of the times and provide a fascinating glimpse into the mysterious world of the Bletchley Park codebreakers. The alternating 1999 Jersey passages do more than simply frame the wartime story; they add psychological and emotional depth and bring matters to a close in such a way I know I’ll be drawn back to “The Sound of Secrecy” time and again. I really felt for Lina and Wilf.

My very best,


Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Paul. Delighted you enjoyed it. And I hope the car is now behaving itself...