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Motives for Murder  - a Detection Club anthology

Ann Cleeves says "Good short stories have a force and a clarity which it's almost impossible to achieve in a novel. That's why I enjoy reading them. I know that each word has been chosen with care.

"As a writer, they give me the opportunity to experiment, to play and to try a new form. My first non-series piece of prose came out as short fiction and I'd never have had the nerve to write a first person novel, without practising first on a story.

"I don't send post cards when I travel; I write stories instead. The three pieces in the CWA anthologies bring back vivid memories of Tanzania, Finland and Alaska. Raven Black was originally conceived as another of those holiday snap stories."

Two recent postcards come from Ann's travels as a very sought-after guest at literary conventions. First was The Queen of Mystery,the short story which Ann contributed to BBC Radio's The Crime Writer at the Festival series, broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on 10th July. It takes us to Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland - an annual crime convention for lovers of the traditional mystery novel..

Ann's contribution to the Detection Club anthology Motives for Murder takes her to the Emirates Literature Festival, this time not as a guest but in the person of a bored ex-pat wife thrilled at this opportunity to see her favourite writer, Peter Lovesey. Motives for Murder was published in paperback and Kindle editions on November 3rd 2016; Ann's story, Dreaming of Rain and Peter Lovesey is now also available as a single download.

Coming in September 2017, a postcard from Mousa - Ann's contribution to Bloody Scotland, an anthology of short stories inspired by locations in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.


The Starlings and Other Stories

The Starlings and Other Stories

In The Starlings and Other Stories, Ann has edited a collection of twelve short stories which are literally, if not snapshots, at least inspired by photographs. She has invited each of her fellow members of Murder Squad to bring in an accomplice, and write a short story inspired by the dramatic photography of Pembrokeshire-based author David Wilson. Ann's own contribution is the title story, The Starlings, featuring DI Vera Stanhope.

"Well, this is one of the most impressive collections of short stories that I've come across - beautifully crafted stories in a beautifully crafted book."

The Puzzle Doctor

"There is an immense amount of talent on display here (not only from Mr Wilson either) each author adding their own indomitable style to things and giving us a varied and utterly compelling set of stories that will stay with you a long time. This is one of those times where I won't tell you much else - I won't review each individual one because the point here, very much so, is to have an immersive experience with the imagery and the storytelling...

"All in all fantastic. A book lover's dream - if you are a collector you need this for your shelf."

Liz Loves Books

The Starlings and Other Stories was published by Graffeg on 7th September 2015. You can see a preview (and place an order) on the publisher's website or order a copy from Amazon UK or from Amazon.com.

Offshore

Offshore - a new collection of short stories

Now Ann has assembled a collection of postcards home, from islands all round the coast of Britain. She has been working with Pan MacMillan's Bello imprint, which uses modern digital technology to make lost classics available once again as eBooks or print-on-demand paperbacks, to celebrate their reissue of her early George and Molly series. This gave her an idea for a novel twist - not Whodunnit but Whowrote it! Ann explains: "A holiday in Skokholm, an island off the Pembrokeshire coast, persuaded me that George and his wife Molly might make a return. While I was in Skokholm I started writing the story, but the weather was so lovely and the island so appealing, that I didn't get beyond the first paragraph."

So she invited her readers to help. Bello published that first paragraph on their website, and offered a prize for the best story: publication in Ann's island ebook anthology, and an opportunity for the author to visit Skokholm for themselves. And here is that first paragraph:

They came to Skokholm in late summer before the Manx shearwaters and storm petrels left the island, crossing the water from the Pembrokeshire mainland in the early morning. It was a still, sultry day. Light bounced from the water, turning the island into a black silhouette. George was silent and Molly wondered suddenly if their relationship would survive constant companionship, the routine of domestic life. The boat rounded a headland and she saw a rough jetty, bloated seals hauled onto the rocks. They'd arrived. The first adventure of their retirement. The boatman helped them off with their bags then disappeared. They'd expected to be met at the pier by the wardens, but there was no sign of the promised tractor. The place was entirely silent.

Lynne Chitty's winning story was aptly titled Postcard from Skokholm: she says "I am thrilled to have won and it is a great encouragement and privilege to have my short story included with Ann Cleeves' work. I am really looking forward to going to Skokholm to experience the beauty of the island and to be close to the wildlife and birds. Hopefully I won't bump into the Palmer-Jones' and be caught up in a murder mystery! Thank you to everyone involved for this wonderful opportunity." Ann adds, "Everyone was impressed by the way Lynne structured the narrative effectively in so few words. It's great that she's enthusiastic about visiting the island and I look forward to hearing all about her trip."

Offshore was published in an exclusive Kindle-only edition on December 4th 2014.

Ann told the Telegraph about Britain's most mysterious islands - and which detectives to read about when you visit them!

Best Eaten Cold - the Murder Squad anthology

Crime on the Move

Green for Danger

Crime in the City

Murder Squad


Ann's published short stories; with links to two exclusive short stories to read on this site.

The Queen of Mystery
Broadcast in BBC Radio's The Crime Writer at the Festival series, (10.07.2016)
Available on Listen Again
The Writer-in-Residence
A new story featuring Jimmy Perez, published in Offshore (2014)
Stranded
Published in Offshore (2014)
The Pirate
Published in Offshore (2014)
The Spinster
A story featuring Jimmy Perez, published in OxCrimes, Profile Books, May 2014.
read more on the publisher's website, which includes links to buy your copy from Waterstones or Amazon
Re-published in Offshore
Secrets of Soil
written in collaboration with forensic soil scientist Lorna Dawson, and featuring Willow Reeves, read by Lesley Hart in front of an audience at the Bloody Scotland festival in Stirling, and broadcast on Radio 4 on Sunday 22nd September 2013.
Published in Offshore (2014)
The Harmless Pursuits of Archibald Stamp
Hear Ann read this story in the Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine podcast
Drop Dead Gorgeous
A Vera Stanhope story published in The Express (September 2012)
The Habit of Silence
A Vera Stanhope story published in 'Best Eaten Cold' and Other Stories, the Murder Squad anthology, edited by Martin Edwards, (The History Press, 2011) - order a copy from Amazon, or make sure your local bookshop or library orders a copy (the ISBN is 978-0-7524-6300-1) - now also available in a Kindle edition.
Mud
Published in 'Best Eaten Cold' and Other Stories, the Murder Squad anthology, edited by Martin Edwards, (The History Press, 2011) - order a copy from Amazon, or make sure your local bookshop or library orders a copy (the ISBN is 978-0-7524-6300-1) - now also available in a Kindle edition.
Hector's Other Woman
A Vera Stanhope story published in Guilty Consciences, the CWA Anthology, edited by Martin Edwards (Severn House, 2011).
Re-published in Offshore (2014)
Beastly Pleasures
published in Original Sins, the CWA Anthology, edited by Martin Edwards (Severn House, 2010).
Read more about Original Sins in Ann's Diary or order from Amazon.
The Soothmoothers
(read by Marnie Baxter) was first broadcast on April 30th 2010 at 3.30pm, as part of Radio 4's Red Herrings series. You can now read this story (which features Jimmy Perez, of the Shetland murder mysteries) on this web site.
Re-published in Offshore
Going Back
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, edited by Janet Hutchings, March/April 2007 issue.
Basic Skills
Published in 'Best Eaten Cold' and Other Stories, the Murder Squad anthology, edited by Martin Edwards, (The History Press, 2011) - order a copy from Amazon, or make sure your local bookshop or library orders a copy (the ISBN is 978-0-7524-6300-1) - now also available in a Kindle edition.
Originally broadcast on Radio 4 on 2nd November 2006, read by Brigit Forsyth, as part of the Manchester Crime Wave series.
Exclusive: Read Basic Skills online
The Midwife's Assistant
Phantoms at the Phil, edited by Chaz Brenchley, (Northern Gothic, 2005).
About Phantoms at the Phil.
Owl Wars
Crime on the Move, the CWA anthology edited by Martin Edwards, (Do-Not Press, 2004)
Games for Winter
Green for Danger, the CWA anthology edited by Martin Edwards, (Do-Not Press. 2003)
A Rough Guide to Tanga
Crime in the City, the CWA anthology, edited by Martin Edwards, (Do-Not Press 2002).
The Plater
The Murder Squad anthology, edited by Martin Edwards, (Flambard Press, 2001).
Shortlisted for a CWA short story dagger award.
Sad Girls
The Murder Squad anthology, edited by Martin Edwards, (Flambard Press, 2001).
The Harmless Pursuits of Archibald Stamp
Northern Blood 2, edited by Martin Edwards, (Flambard Press, 1995)
A Winter's Tale
Northern Blood, edited by Martin Edwards, (Didsbury Press, 1992).