Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Many Deadly Returns edited by Martin Edwards

First Line from the Introduction: Many Deadly Returns celebrates the twenty-first birthday of Murder Squad and showcases the range of our fiction.
Many Deadly Returns contains twenty-one short stories written by nine past and present members of Murder Squad, a group of midlist crime writers based in the north of England.

Several of the writers showcased in this anthology were familiar to me: Ann Cleeves, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, John Baker, Stuart Pawson, and Cath Staincliffe. Others, like Chris Simms, Margaret Murphy, and Chaz Brenchley, I met for the first time. That's something every good anthology should do: give you more of the familiar yet introduce you to the new.

The stories run the gamut from sly and humorous to grim and heartbreaking. Three of my favorites? Chris Simms' "Skeleton Crew" is set in a garbage dump and features a man who doesn't know how to leave well enough alone. Kate Ellis' "The Confessions of Edward Prime" is about a young man who likes to come into the police station to confess to each new crime as it's reported. And Margaret Murphy's "Still Life" is about a man with locked-in syndrome and the young girl who's repulsed by him. 

There's not a bad'un in the bunch; there's something to be enjoyed in each of these short stories. From great turns of phrase ("He was more simian than sapiens.") to O. Henry-like twists and other feats of plotting and characterization, Many Deadly Returns is a pleasure to read. Not only did I enjoy reading the ones by my favorite authors, but I also found new authors to read. Pardon me while I go look up their books...
Many Deadly Returns edited by Martin Edwards
eISBN: 9781448305575
Severn House © 2021
eBook, 194 pages

Short Story Anthology
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


  1. I'm not at all surprised you liked this so well, Cathy. Martin Edwards is not just a skilled writer in his own right; he's also a very talented editor. Rarely am I disappointed by a collection he curates. And the stories do sound great!


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