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CRA Case files
Issue 25
CRA
Dear <<First Name>>,

A bumper crop of crime capers for your consideration. 13 new releases: some scary, some cosy, some unsettling, some humorous. We have debuts from new members and offerings from veterans with dozens of books to their name - in one case, over 70 novels. But that’s the great thing about the Crime Writers’ Association; it’s a feast of talent for all tastes. Bon appetit!


Chris Simms, Editor.

All eight books in Chris’ highly acclaimed DI Spicer series are now available to download on Amazon. Discover more about each title on his website - www.chrissimms.info 

The Daily Grind
Writer: Alexander Arrowsmith

Workspace:    I write in my study (a converted garage) overlooking a lovely bypass which held two cycling events at the 2012 Olympics, surrounded by book covers, books, Giant Scorpions and the occasional cat and human visitor. I work at my green leather-topped mahogany desk; something I dreamt for years of owning. 

Take a closer look: 
I do love a nice colourful box folder for my writing projects which are usually full of notes, scribbles, fight scene sketches, maps and, once completed, a printed and edited copy of the book. 

How long do you write for each day?
I write for 2-3 hours a day depending on how quickly the things are coming from my brain to my keyboard. 

How many words do you aim to get down?
For my Historical Crime novels, it’s 1,500 words a day, and for my Horror novels or short stories 2,000. The historical novels usually have frequent research stops for vital or trivial information required about Ancient Athens. 

Longhand or straight-to-screen?
I use to write longhand many years ago, before computers came along (yes, I’m that old) but now its straight-to-screen with my terrible typing skills.

Do you have a time when you’re most productive?
I’m definitely a morning person. I write from around 08:30-11:30 am: anything past that and my brain turns to mush and my terrible typing then barely registers as any form of English. Afternoons I can’t do, but sometimes I write at night. 

An internet connection – good or bad when you’re writing?
Good and bad. I normally close down Facebook before I start writing, but keep the internet on just in case I need to Google something for the story quickly.

Pillars of Blood is by Alexander Arrowsmith.
Forgotten Classic

Isabelle Grey talks about That Rascal, Fridolin - a book she thinks everyone should read.

A library book I re-read often as kid but never owned was a translated German story about a badger named Fridolin. I’d never come across anyone else who knew it or seen it elsewhere until I searched for a second-hand copy a few years ago. I was amazed to realise that the author was Hans Fallada, who in 1946 wrote Alone in Berlin about an elderly couple who heroically scatter subversive postcards as their resistance to the Nazi regime. Fallada wrote That Rascal, Fridolin for his daughter, and it, too, is about survival and the stubborn attempts of a creature to live according to his nature in a hostile world. I read it in the sixties against a background of the struggle for civil rights, protests against Vietnam and student counter-culture, and can now understand why Fridolin’s sense of resistance resonated so strongly.

Which CWA member?
Which CWA member was a legal adviser to Liverpool Football Club for twenty years?

Which CWA member discovered – after years of getting covered in mud, frozen, and soaked – the memorial to the late poet laureate, Ted Hughes, on Dartmoor? 

Which CWA member signs books using a special signature designed at a Pizza Hut on the outskirts of Gloucester?

Which CWA member, during a particularly strange day as a youth on his father’s farm, tried out bullfighting with a live bull? (Both bull and boy survived the experience!)

Which CWA member, while selling copies of his horror novels, was approached by James Herbert who wanted to buy one? (He was so over-awed, he gave it to him for free.) 

Which CWA member has travelled all over the world to research her novels – but lives within two miles of a deserted Leicestershire village where she can trace her family back to the 1600s?

Which CWA member bakes sourdough bread using a jar of ferment called Dr Pretorius, named after the renegade scientist from the film, Bride of Frankenstein? 

Which CWA member started his working life managing a very large sheep farm high up on the slopes of Mt. Kenya? 

Which CWA member was once a guinea pig for a taste test on a lethally poisoned curry? (She survived - with a totally numbed tongue.)

Which CWA member has a PhD in chimpanzee psychology? (Which she now finds very useful, since she has a small child.)

Which CWA member speaks five languages and, if they gave them out, would have a doctorate in international swearing?

Which CWA member was awarded an MBE in 2014 for services to literature?

Which CWA member once appeared as a character in a book, only to be eaten by a giant mutant pig? (Still, the experience inspired him to write….)

Which CWA member’s entry in a cookery competition received the following verdict from Fanny Craddock: ‘Yuk!’
The Low Down
Golden Age of Murder

Writer:
Martin Edwards
Area: Lymm, Cheshire
Day job: Solicitor
 
The Golden Age of Murder is by Martin Edwards. Here, we take a look at both writer and his latest paperback.

So, why should we read it?
It tells the story of the writers who invented the modern detective novel, and it’s won awards both in the UK and in the US.

Did it take much research?
A lifetime of reading, and about ten years of working on the project intermittently as my ideas slowly took shape.

In 3 words, how will it leave us feeling?
Fascinated, informed, entertained.

What sparked the original idea?
My love of classic crime fiction and my passionate belief that there was far more to those books than has usually been supposed.    

What’s your 5-year plan?
To make the most of every minute, writing, travelling, enjoying fresh experiences.

Do you vote?
Yes.

Tell us your favourite type of cheese.
Cheshire (The most under-rated of counties, as well as cheeses!)

Which superpower would you choose, and why? Invisibility, flying or reading minds.
The ability to fly would have made my loooong years as a commuter much easier!

Your house is on fire. Which book do you save?
My first edition of Agatha Christie’s Sad Cypress, because it contains an inscription by Christie herself – which became the final sentence of The Golden Age of Murder.
Which CWA member? (the answers)
Which CWA member was a legal adviser to Liverpool Football Club for twenty years?
Martin Edwards

Which CWA member discovered – after years of getting covered in mud, frozen, and soaked – the memorial to the late poet laureate, Ted Hughes, on Dartmoor? 
Simon Hall

Which CWA member signs books using a special signature designed at a Pizza Hut on the outskirts of Gloucester?
A.J. MacKenzie

Which CWA member, during a particularly strange day as a youth on his father’s farm, tried out bullfighting with a live bull? (Both bull and boy survived the experience!)
Francis Sparks

Which CWA member, while selling copies of his horror novels, was approached by James Herbert who wanted to buy one? (He was so over-awed, he gave it to him for free.) 
Alexander Arrowsmith  

Which CWA member has travelled all over the world to research her novels – but lives within two miles of a deserted Leicestershire village where she can trace her family back to the 1600s?
Jean Chapman

Which CWA member bakes sourdough bread using a jar of ferment called Dr Pretorius, named after the renegade scientist from the film, Bride of Frankenstein? 
Linda Stratmann

Which CWA member started his working life managing a very large sheep farm high up on the slopes of Mt. Kenya? 
Tim Symonds

Which CWA member was once a guinea pig for a taste test on a lethally poisoned curry? (She survived - with a totally numbed tongue.)
Isabelle Grey

Which CWA member has a PhD in chimpanzee psychology? (Which she now finds very useful, since she has a small child.)
Sanjida Kay 

Which CWA member speaks five languages and, if they gave them out, would have a doctorate in international swearing?
Marnie Riches

Which CWA member was awarded an MBE in 2014 for services to literature?
Alanna Knight 

Which CWA member once appeared as a character in a book, only to be eaten by a giant mutant pig? (Still, the experience inspired him to write….)
Mark Hill

Which CWA member’s entry in a cookery competition received the following verdict from Fanny Craddock: ‘Yuk!’
Amy Myers
ABOUT THE EDITOR

CHRIS SIMMS

Along with nominations for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year award and Crime Writers' Association Daggers (for his novels and short stories), Chris was selected by Waterstone's as one of their '25 Authors For The Future'. He continues to feverishly scribble away in a small hut behind his house.

WWW.CHRISSIMMS.INFO
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