#BlogTour #BookReview Music of the Night edited by Martin Edwards @RandomTTours @FlameTreePress

Music Night (2) BT PosterWelcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Music of the Night, the latest anthology of original short stories by members of the Crime Writers’ Association, edited by Martin Edwards. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Flame Tree Press for my digital review copy. Do check out the post by my tour buddy for today, Amanda at The Butler Did It.

Final Music of the Night CoverAbout the Book

Music of the Night is a new anthology of original short stories contributed by Crime Writer’s Association (CWA) members and edited by Martin Edwards, with music as the connecting theme. The aim, as always, is to produce a book which is representative both of the genre and the membership of the world’s premier crime writing association.

The CWA has published anthologies of members’ stories in most years since 1956 with Martin Edwards as editor for over 25 years during which time the anthologies have yielded many award-winning and nominated stories by writers such as Ian Rankin, Reginald Hill, Lawrence Block and Edward D. Hoch.

Stories by long-standing authors and stellar names sit alongside contributions from relative newcomers, authors from overseas, and members whose work haven’t appeared in a CWA anthology before. Among the gifted stars of today whose fiction featured in a CWA anthology at an early stage of their crime writing careers are Mick Herron, Frank Tallis and Sarah Hilary. It isn’t a closed shop, and never has been.

The CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) was founded in 1953 by John Creasey and organises the prestigious CWA Dagger Awards which celebrate the best in crime writing. The CWA is a pro-active, thriving and ever-expanding community of writers based in the UK but with a reach that extends worldwide.

Format: Hardcover (288 pages)            Publisher: Flame Tree Press
Publication date: 22nd February 2022 Genre: Crime, Short Stories

Find Music of the Night on Goodreads

Purchase links
Hive | Amazon UK
Links provided for convenience only, not as part of an affiliate programme

My Review

The contributors to this anthology are a positive Who’s Who of contemporary crime fiction and much of the fun is seeing how each author responds to the theme of music.  In some of the stories the musical element is in the background, for example as a setting for a crime.  In others it is the key (pardon the pun) to the whole structure of the story.  A particularly good example of the latter is the story by Ragnar Jónasson who instructs that it should be read while listening to 4’33” by John Cage. I also really enjoyed ‘The Melody of Murder’ by Antony M Brown in which the killer’s trademark is creating crime scenes which resemble famous album covers.  Perhaps my favourite story was ‘Love Me Or Leave Me: A Fugue in G Minor’ by Art Taylor, a strange and rather unsettling story based around a fragment of melody that apparently no-one else can hear.

I always admire authors who can create really taut short stories and some great examples in the collection are ‘Mix Tape’ by Cath Staincliffe, ‘Taxi!’ by Chris Simms, ‘Violin – CE’ by David Stuart Davies and ‘A Vulture Sang in Berkeley Square’. I also enjoyed being introduced in short story form to some crime series I’ve heard of but haven’t read such as Vaseem Khan’s Malabar House series.

There is something for everyone in the collection whether you’re a fan of historical crime, police procedural or noir – or perhaps I should say whether your playlist contains classical music, pop, rock, jazz… or even silence. Whichever is the case, I can safely say that Music of the Night contains no bum notes.

In three words: Inventive, engaging, witty

Try something similar: Mystery Tour edited by Martin Edwards

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Martin EdwardsAbout the Editor

Martin Edwards is the author of eighteen novels, including the Lake District Mysteries, and the Harry Devlin series. His ground-breaking genre study The Golden Age of Murder has won the Edgar, Agatha and H.R.F. Keating awards. He has edited twenty eight crime anthologies, has won the CWA Short Story Dagger and the CWA Margery Allingham Prize, and is series consultant for the British Library’s Crime Classics. In 2015, he was elected eighth President of the Detection Club, an office previously held by G.K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers.

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Music Night (1) BT Poster

#BlogTour #BookReview Liberty Terrace by Madeleine D’Arcy @Doirepress @MidasPR

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Liberty Terrace by Madeleine D’Arcy. My thanks to Francesca at MidasPR for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my digital review copy.

Liberty TerraceAbout the Book

Liberty Terrace features a bevy of characters who reside in a fictional area of Cork City in the period 2016 to 2020. The inhabitants of Liberty Terrace come and go, and their lives occasionally intersect in stories that are sometimes funny, sometimes dark, often both.

The cast of characters includes retired Garda Superintendent Deckie Google, a young homeless squatter, the mother of an autistic child working part-time as a Census Enumerator, the dysfunctional Callinan family, an ageing rock star, a trio of ladies who visit a faith healer, a philandering husband, as well as a surprising number of cats and dogs.

These stories shed light on how we lived before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, on what we care about and on what, if anything, we can truly count on.

Format: Paperback (200 pages)          Publisher: Doire Press
Publication date: 28th October 2021 Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Short Stories

Find Liberty Terrace on Goodreads

Purchase links
Publisher | Amazon UK
Links provided for convenience only, not as part of an affiliate programme

My Review

One of my favourite kind of short story collections is those where the stories are interconnected, with characters from one story turning up in another one, albeit often only briefly. Liberty Terrace fulfils that requirement completely. Not only is it fun spotting names you recognise from an earlier story but often it provides additional insight into a character you’ve met before.

In a short story collection there are usually some stories that resonate more than others and Liberty Terrace is no exception. Often they are not necessarily the stories that you enjoy so much as admire for their craft. ‘Quality Time’ is one of the darker stories in which the tables are turned and a man experiences what it is like to be powerless. The theme of power manifests itself again in ‘Dignity’ in which a woman becomes determined to exercise control over what remains of her life. There’s humour as well such as in ‘The Silence of the Crows’ in which a woman conducts a silent war against the crows that disturb her sleep and is rewarded by them depositing  ‘random splats of grey-white bird poop’ on her car. Unfortunately, as it turns out that’s the least of her worries as a doorstep encounter will prove.

Another story I liked was ‘Milo’s Book of Feelings’ in which the mother of an autistic child receives an unexpected and inspiring gift. My absolute favourite story was ‘Ezinna’s Flamboyant Tree’ in which a recent immigrant to the country buys a small tree because it reminds her of the colourful trees in her birth country. The tree in its too small pot becomes a metaphor for how she feels – constrained and living in an environment in which she feels she cannot prosper. However, when she finds the right place for the tree, she discovers friendship and a new sense of belonging.  The final story in the book, ‘The Great Lockdown Rescue’, not only brings things full circle by featuring characters who appeared in the book’s opening story but sees Liberty Terrace inhabitants coming together to perform a daring rescue, evoking the real-life community spirit evidenced in many places during the Covid-19 lockdown.

By the end of the book I felt I could walk along Liberty Terrace and recognise the people I passed in the street, know whose door I could knock on for a cup of tea – and whose I should avoid. Liberty Terrace is a fascinating collection of well-crafted stories that span the spectrum from dark to light and, I think, offer something for everyone.

In three words: Assured, insightful, imaginative

Try something similarThe Wooden Hill by Jamie Guiney

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Madeleine D'ArcyAbout the Author

Madeleine D’Arcy was born in Ireland. She spent thirteen years in the UK, where she worked as a criminal legal aid solicitor and as a legal editor in London. She returned to Ireland in 1999 and lives in Cork City with her husband and son.

Madeleine began to write fiction in 2005. In 2010 she received the Hennessy Literary Award for First Fiction and the overall Hennessy Literary Award for New Irish Writer. Her debut short story collection, Waiting for the Bullet (Doire Press, 2014), won the Edge Hill Readers’ Choice Prize 2015 (UK). She holds an MA in Creative Writing from University College Cork, and has been awarded bursaries by the Arts Council of Ireland and by Cork City Council.

Together with Danielle McLaughlin, she co-hosts Fiction at the Friary, a free monthly fiction event held in Cork City since 2017. (Photo credit: Publisher author page)

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