Today I am on tour with a rather unique book, The Mystery Tour, A Crime Writers’ Association Anthology, published by Orenda Books and edited by Martin Edwards.
The CWA Anthology is a collection of short stories written by members of the Crime Writers’ Association celebrating the best of crime writing by showcasing both established and emerging talent.
Today I am joined by Gordon Brown, Crime/Thriller Author and also a founding board member of BloodyScotland
Gordon has written a post entitled ‘The Inspiration of Sunburn’ that poses an interesting question!!
But first let me tell you a little about this year’s anthology….
Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour.
Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood.
Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.
Ann Cleeves, C.L. Taylor, Susi Holliday, Martin Edwards, Anna Mazzola, Carol Anne Davis, Cath Staincliffe, Chris Simms, Christine Poulson, Ed James, Gordon Brown, J.M. Hewitt, Judith Cutler, Julia Crouch, Kate Ellis, Kate Rhodes, Martine Bailey, Michael Stanley, Maxim Jakubowski, Paul Charles, Paul Gitsham, Peter Lovesey, Ragnar Jónasson, Sarah Rayne, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Vaseem Khan, William Ryan and William Burton McCormick
Purchase Link ~ The CWA Short Story Anthology: Mystery Tour
The Inspiration of Sunburn
by Gordon Brown
When I was a kid I used to holiday in the fishing town of Fraserburgh, on the north-east shoulder of Scotland. I have memories of endless, sun-drenched fun on the beach but, being Scotland, there couldn’t have been that many days when this was true. Maybe wind-swept fun was closer to the reality. Regardless, there was enough sun to fry my fair-haired skin (I’m a redhead) into a neon red banner of pain and peeling. My mum would chase us around the sand, suntan cream in hand, warning us of the dangers from above. We, of course, ran away and ignored her, only to spend that night bathed in calamine lotion, screaming at the slightest touch to our sautéed flesh.
What’s this got to do with my new short story in the CWA’ s Mystery Tour anthology? Transplant me a few thousand miles south and forty years off into the future and you’ll find me sitting in Javea, a town on the Costa Blanca, roughly half way between Alicante and Valencia, that rests on an outcrop of Spain that’s reaching out, trying to touch the Balearic Islands. My wife and I own an apartment there, purchased a few years back. It’s our bolt hole of choice and unlike Fraserburgh really does provide endless days of sunshine – and sunburn. I’m usually quite good with sun protection but one time, earlier in the year, I slipped up. The day after my solar indiscretion I was relegated to the shade of a café in town, nursing my glowing skin.
It was market day and the town was buzzing with shoppers scavenging their wares from countless stalls. Head in novel, I was surrounded by other souls resting from the rigours of market shopping. An older man sat at a table near the road. He was wearing a white Panama hat and, after half an hour or so I noticed that the man frequently rose from his chair, walked to the edge of the pavement, and looked down the road. He did this every few minutes. Maybe he was waiting for someone, was my initial thought. When he paid his bill and vanished he dropped from my mind until I saw him reappear, once more looking down the road. By the time we moved on he was still at it. The last I saw of him he was bobbing in and out of a small lane.
As I walked away I wondered what he was up to. It didn’t take long to land on the idea that he was, as they say in all the good movies of old, casing the joint. What joint? A bank was the easy answer. There are three or four on the street he was watching. A bank robbery being planned? Him the mastermind? The takings of the day being deposited by the market stall holders the target. Of course, that’s a lot of cash being paid in. And what if the mastermind, and his trusty sidekick, managed to grab a bag of this money? Stuffed to the gunnels with Euros, they make their getaway, police in hot pursuit. And then, disaster, they drop the bag, police at their heels. Abandoning the bag at my feet, the criminals rush on, unable to stop for fear of being caught. The police, intent on catching the robbers, sprint past. And there we have the set up. Thousands of Euros for the taking. And me, in my head, a skint tourist with a life back home that’s going nowhere. What should I do with the bag? Hand it in? Or pick it up and walk?
The real interest in this story is wondering what it takes to flip someone to a criminal. How much temptation do we need to wander off the straight and narrow? In my writing I’m a big fan of placing ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Of stressing them, bending them, pushing them – seeing how far they will go and what they will do under extreme pressure. My latest book, Furthest Reaches, asks, of my main protagonist whether he would kidnap the president of the USA to save his own skin? I have another novel out in the US this year, Falling Too, and it questions if my ‘hero’ would get involved in a repeat of the Great Train Robbery to help a friend recover something she badly needs.
For me, as a writer, this is fertile ground. Take the Money and Run? could easily morph into a novel. A Brit on the run in Spain is an old story, but well-worn paths sometimes lead to the best places. Think about it, if you could truly get away with it, how much money would need to be in that bag for you to turn to the dark side?
You can always drop me a line with the answer on my website:
Gordon has five books published to date.
He has two novels, Darkest Thoughts and Furthest Reaches (the first two in the Craig McIntyre series), published this year by Strident Publishing in the UK.
Twitter ~ @GoJaBrown