I guess a good starting question is, How did I get into writing about historical murders? I’ve always been a fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and was fascinated by them as a university student. Not surprisingly, I’m particularly interested in unsolved murders – the “three pipe problems”, as the great detective would call them – particularly ones from the past. In fact, I like to think of myself as a connoisseur of murder, if one dare admit to this kind of thing. As Thomas De Quincey said in the 19th century, there is something more to a “fine murder” than the amount of spilt blood, and I have been researching these vintage homicides for many years. The Cold Case Jury Collection is the culmination of this work. My first book was self-published in late 2015 before I signed a four book deal with Mirror Books in January 2017.
What else? I like board gaming and – showing both my age and a disturbingly geeky side – I love playing around with the 8-bit computers from the late 70s and early 80s that used tape cassettes and had less memory than a small GIF file. Moving swiftly on, I also love hiking and travel. It was while I was travelling that I almost became embroiled in one of the most shocking crimes of the later years of the last century.
I was on a trip to the US immediately after the Oklahoma bombing in 1995. A nationwide hunt was underway for a second bomber, who was believed to be driving a white Mercury Tracer hire car, exactly the same type of car I had collected from the airport. I got lost on an Arizona freeway and made two u-turns in quick succession (this happened in the days before satnav) and soon after I heard screaming sirens. A nervous traffic cop pulled me over. He ordered me out of the car to open the trunk and, when he saw it packed full of large suitcases, he drew his gun! It was a terrifying moment, but, after much questioning, the cop realised I was not the man. Timothy McVeigh was executed in 2001 for the attack. A second bomber was never found.
What about books? My favourite author is probably George Orwell, despite Will Self calling his writing style ‘pedestrian’. I admire Orwell’s clarity and keen sense of observation. Of true crime writers, I like Edgar Lustgarten for similar reasons. Sadly, I often find true crime books long-winded and turgid. I hope mine are a pacy and enjoyable blend of narrative and creative non-fiction. I hope this makes a compelling read. Please let me know.
Antony M. Brown