Many Deadly Returns Edited by Martin Edwards

EXCERPT: Taken from Skeleton Crew by Chris Simms

The old Cortina passing under the height barrier at the entrance catches my eye. Hey up, it’s them again. Tweedledum and Tweedledee. A right pair, those two. Quick glance at my watch: six fifty-five. Always the same. Seconds ahead of when the lorry arrives to take the waste-to-energy container away.

As I walk down the ramp to unlock the main gates in readiness for the lorry turning up, their battered old Cortina stops alongside the container for unwanted clothing. One bag goes in, but the flap isn’t able to close completely. Thing must need emptying too.

Here comes the lorry, as I knew it would. ‘Evening Harry,’ I say to the driver as he slows to a halt. ‘How’s things back at base?’

He gives me an awkward glance as I swing the gates open. ‘Same old, same old.’

As he steers the lorry towards the waste-to-energy container, I can see Tweedledum and Tweedledee standing at the railings above it. Even though one’s lost most of his black curls, they must be twins. The same jowly cheeks and squashed out bottom lip. Sad, droopy eyes that are devoid of life. Open-mouth breathers – that’s what Trevor, my ex-policeman friend, calls their type. Both are wearing hideous, cheap-looking leather jackets that end in thick elasticated waistbands. Shapeless jeans tucked into wellington boots that are caked in manure, or something similar.

Every time they reach over to drop a shoebox sized package,into the container, the waistbands of their leather jackets ride up over their fat stomachs. Tugging them back down in unison, they turn to the boot of their car and repeat the process, avoiding eye contact with me all the while. Something’s not right about them, I just know it.

ABOUT ‘MANY DEADLY RETURNS’: Murder Squad, a group of award-winning crime and mystery writers, celebrate their twenty-first birthday with a bang in this criminally good collection of short stories. A dawn swim turns deadly in a brand-new short story starring DCI Vera Stanhope . . . Two bored cell-mates play a game with chilling results . . . A hen night in an isolated cottage brings new meaning to ‘I will survive’ . . . A train traveller teaches a valuable lesson in reading labels . . . A day at the seaside turns stormy for a woman who doesn’t care for foreigners . . . A wealthy retiree makes a new friend who connects her to the Other Side . . . and much much more. Short, sharp and packed with twists, these 21 unputdownable tales showcase Murder Squad’s range and talent throughout the years. So why not treat yourself to a slice of murderously moreish fiction, and join us in wishing the squad ‘Many Deadly Returns’. With stories by Ann Cleeves, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, Margaret Murphy, Chris Simms and Cath Staincliffe, as well as John Baker, Chaz Brenchley and Stuart Pawson.

MY THOUGHTS: I largely enjoyed this collection of stories: some by authors who I have followed for years, some who I have read occasionally, and a small number of whom I was unfamiliar with. There were only two stories that I really disliked.

There are twenty one short stories, one for each year the Murder Squad has been in existence. I have listed them, along with my rating.
Wild Swimming by Ann Cleeves – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Lucky Liam by Martin Edwards – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Scorpion by Cath Staincliffe – ⭐⭐.5
Skeleton Crew by Chris Simms – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Fox and the Hens by Kate Ellis – ⭐⭐.5
An Old Fashioned Poisoning by John Baker – ⭐⭐
Read the Label by Margaret Murphy – ⭐⭐
My Oleander by Kate Ellis – ⭐⭐⭐.5
The Queen of Mystery by Ann Cleeves – ⭐⭐⭐
For Kicks by Chaz Brenchly – ⭐⭐⭐
Two Birds by Cath Staincliffe – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Big End Blues by Margaret Murphy – ⭐⭐⭐.5
Bad Friday by Martin Edwards – ⭐⭐⭐.5
The Passenger by Chris Simms – ⭐⭐⭐
The Confessions of Edward Prime by Kate Ellis – ⭐⭐⭐
Ultra Violet by Stewart Pawson – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Perfect Storm by Cath Staincliffe – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Gaffed by Chris Simms – ⭐⭐⭐
The Other Life by Martin Edwards – ⭐⭐⭐
A Winter’s Tale by Ann Cleeves – ⭐⭐⭐
Still Life by Margaret Murphy – ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

Definitely worth keeping on your nightstand for those nights you want something short to read.


#ManyDeadlyReturns #NetGalley

I: @medwardsbooks @severnhouseimprint

T: @medwardsbooks @severnhouse

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #domesticdrama #historicalfiction #murdermystery #shortstories

THE AUTHOR: Kenneth Martin Edwards is a British crime novelist, whose work has won awards in the UK and the United States. As a crime fiction critic and historian, and also in his career as a solicitor, he has written non-fiction books and many articles.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Severn House via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Many Deadly Returns, edited by Martin Edwards. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or my webpage

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and

Author: sandysbookaday

I love good quality chocolate. I love the ocean and love to be in, on or beside it. I read any and every where. I am a proud mum and Nana. I like wine, gin, Southern Comfort, a cold Heineken on a hot day. I am very versatile like that. I cross stitch, do jigsaws, garden, and work on a farm. I am an occasional scribbler. I have far too many books I want to read to ever find the time to die. I am an active member of Goodreads as Sandy *the world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* and review on Amazon under the name Sandyj21. My Goodreads reviews are automatically linked to my Facebook page. Groups I belong to and participate in on Goodreads include: The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group; Mysteries and Crime Thrillers; Psychological Thrillers; Reading for Pleasure; Crime Detective Mystery Thrillers; English Mysteries; Dead Good Crime; Kindle English Mystery, All About Books and NZ Readers. April 2016 I made the Top 1% of Goodreads reviewers (As follows) Hello Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! With every rave and every pan, with every excited GIF and every critical assessment, you've helped the Goodreads community get closer to a very important milestone – the 50 Million Reviews mark!

4 thoughts on “Many Deadly Returns Edited by Martin Edwards”

  1. I think Anne Cleeves is the only author I have read from this group. It sounds like this is a better choice than the last anthology you read, Sandy. Nice review and recap with individual ratings.

    Liked by 1 person

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