The Crime Readers' Association

Short Stories by CWA Authors


The Lady Suliena, by Marsali Taylor

– being a detective chronicle of Rupert, Prince Palatine.   It was my aunt who brought me into the affair of the automaton.  The court had had a great craze for chess that season, and I was playing with my […]

Where there’s a will, by Bill Daly

This was not how I’d envisaged spending my twenty-first birthday. It should have been a day of celebration, even more so as Mr Chamberlain had come back from Munich yesterday with the joyful news that there was to be peace […]

The Black Out, by A.A. Chaudhuri

  ‘How could you do it, Mum?’ I stare at my daughter sitting across from me in the visitors’ room. Her trust in me irretrievably shattered. Pain, hurt, confusion etched across her lovely face. Disappointment, also. Disappointment that the one […]

THE FIRST HIT by Jeff Dowson

The black Lexus was parked overlooking the Gorge. On the Heights. The uber-expensive, everyone else can piss off, privately policed domain which sat above the heaving mass of the old town. Close enough for residents to eavesdrop on the real […]

The Joke, by Trevor D’Silva

It was Wednesday morning. The high-pitched trill of my mobile woke me from a fog of dreams. Groggily, and wiping the grit from my eyes, I answered. “Hello?” “Mr Hawkins?” The sombre tone doing more to wake me than a […]

Crime Writers, by J G Harlond

“I had no idea,” she said. “He didn’t tell me anything. He didn’t tell me anything about anything, that was our problem.” DS Brown looked her in the eye. Josephine turned from his appropriately brown-eyed gaze. “Secretive, was he?” the […]

Food by Hand, by Antony Johnston

When she touched me on the shoulder, I knew she had a taste for danger. Then she said, ‘Can I eat with you?’ and there was no doubt in my mind. She was a risk-taker. Of course, so was everyone […]

Eye for an eye, by Sally Spedding

EYEBRITE OPTICIANS LTD. Your eyes are our business… 52, Park Road, Old Heath, Colchester, Essex. CO1 2HB Tel; 01206 509800 Email; eyebrite@wellbeing.com 3/3/23 URGENT!   Dear Ms. Robertson, This is to inform you that Eyebrite Opticians Ltd. is now under […]

Dirty Snow, by Andrew Hook

When Mordent first arrived in Tokyo he left Kovacs in his hotel room and grabbed a taxi to Mr D’s Diner. It was dark but the city was filled with light. Neon signs reflected off glass buildings; kaleidoscopic mirrors. Advertisements […]

Natural Justice, by Brian Price

Damien Porton sneered as his Bentley glided past a battery of posters attacking his plans for Mellors Wood. ‘Bunch of Luddite NIMBYs,’ he muttered to himself, as he drove through the electric gates guarding his drive. One of them was […]

The Cargo, by E.M. Powell

The Port of Messina, Sicily, 1347 The first thing Alfonsus di Giuliano noticed about the twelve ships was how badly they were rigged. As he waited on the dockside for them to drop anchor, he scoffed at the useless flap […]

RESEARCH by Morgan Cry

‘. . . and that’s why I’m so happy in my skin.’ The lecture’s over. Research told me he wasn’t happy at all. I could do something about that. Something that would require a sharp knife, physical restraint and a […]

A Kink In the Chain, by Patrick Gooch

IT WAS OBVIOUS TO ALL that the two men making their way down the second fairway were at opposite ends of the corporal spectrum. One, a bluff, hearty individual, was tall and physically robust. The other, slight of build, short […]

Them and Us, by Bernie Crossthwaite

The room was painted bright yellow. There were vases of flowers, seascapes on the walls, deep soft armchairs. I chose the one facing the door. Really, I thought, you would never guess it was a prison. If I’d had my […]

Cold for May, by Christine Poulson

  It was cold for May, very cold. But it wasn’t as cold as that woman’s heart. With most of the people I’ve cleaned for, I’ve soon been on first-name terms, but not with her. Oh, I was Jenny to […]

Child’s Play, by Alex Gray

It was so easy a child could have done it. The killer sat back and sighed with the sort of pleasure that comes from acknowledging superiority over the rest of humankind and a certainty that they would never be caught. […]

Criminal, by Ricki Thomas

Toby had not been awake for long and he wiped his eyes with a grimy hand. The early winter chill bit the tips of his ears and nose and he warmed his icy fingers under his arms. Shivering, he sat […]

One Wedding and One Funeral by Yvonne Walus

Pretoria, 31 July 1981 What Captain Trevor Watson wanted right now, more than anything in the universe, was to get laid. Go to a Ladies’ Bar – stupid how South African law prohibited women from entering any other kind of […]

Slonský’s First Murder, by Graham Brack

Junior Sergeant Slonský polished the single silver star on each epaulette and thought himself lucky he still had them. He slipped on his uniform shoes – actually, his only shoes – and resisted the temptation to have a slug from […]

Dial M for Misprint, by Peter Bartram

A Crampton of the Chronicle Swinging Sixties mystery My girlfriend Shirley was already into her second glass of white wine by the time I arrived late at the Sussex Grill. I hustled into the restaurant, hurried over to the table […]

Once a conman…, by Gary Powell

Alby Sloper eyed the magnificent diamond with professional expertise as the three-carat jewel sparkled under carefully sited display lights that amplified its beauty. He knew the precious stone’s every cut and polished surface. He scratched at the irritating newly grown […]

Lucky, by D E White

The headlights slashed the road, leaving welts of light in the tarmac, and she shivered. This side of town was quiet after midnight, with no clubs and pubs to spill their alcohol-fuelled customers onto the rain-soaked pavement. The car slowed […]

The Mortuary with Two Doors, by Sanjay Dharwadker

The epidemic was beginning to peak when Doctor Smrt took over the mortuary. Yesterday, the diener, his assistant, had gone missing. Some said she was an illegal immigrant, had been discovered and taken away by the police for questioning. Others […]

Service please, by Roger A Price

Christine Jones leaned back in her chair as she waited for Vinnie to return with the drinks. They had spent a pleasant afternoon in a wine bar off Deansgate in central Manchester celebrating. The documentary she had done with Vinnie […]

The Double Cross, by Douglas Skelton

I’d always liked Darren Morgan. Right up to the moment he killed me. He was a likeable kind of guy, easy-going, smart, good-looking, too – but I don’t mean that in any kind of faggoty way. It’s just a statement […]

The Walnut Creek Vampire, by Tom Mead

It was October of 1962 when the vampire came to Walnut Creek. The streets of that little San Franciscan suburb were carpeted with crisp dead leaves, the skies low and lambent, and the house fronts were papered with skulls and […]

Ringfenced, by Bill Daly

Michelle snuggled in close, as she always did after they’d made love, running her fingers slowly through his long, black hair before languidly tracing the dagger-shaped birthmark on the side of his neck. Pretending to prick her finger on the […]

The Retreat, by Chris McDonald

The skyscrapers and landmarks of Manhattan glint in the rear-view mirror as John and Simon leave the city behind. John reaches into the back seat of his boss’s pick-up truck and returns with a bottle of water. He twists the […]

Paradise Place, by Judith Cutler

‘One can expect nothing good to come out of Birmingham – even your Jane Austen got that right,’ Nicholas declared, pushing away his plate. I knew better than to object that he had taken the quotation out of context. Nicholas […]

On the Bridge, by Merryn Allingham

Cécile took the flowers unwillingly and murmured a polite thank you. They were yet another present she hadn’t wanted. The young man, slouched against the door frame, looked irritated;  it was evident her lack of enthusiasm annoyed him. These past […]

Long Dark Winter Nights, by Marsali Taylor

‘So,’ said DI Gavin Macrae, waving away the last of Khalida’s emergency whisky stock, ‘her alibi is mountain-solid, unless there’s something in your testimony that breaks it.’ ‘My testimony?’ I said, startled. ‘Her husband died,’ he said, ‘while she and […]

One of the Three Spires, by Paul Charles

“Auntie Maude would not like that.” “But Uncle Archie has no kids of his own so she always felt a pity for him…” “When pity might not necessarily have been a good thing?” “Exactly, Liam, you’re spot on. You know […]

Tell Me, by Zoë Sharp

“So, where is she?” Grace ducked under the taped cordon at the edge of the crime scene and showed her ID to the uniformed constable stationed there. “CSI McColl. I’m expected.” The officer jerked his head in the direction of […]

The Last Page, by Paul A. Freeman

British Antarctic Territory, 1963.   Professors Ronaldson and Scoot stood on a barren, windswept outcrop where the Antarctic landmass met the South Atlantic Ocean. An albatross was making its lumbering way across the sky, and in the bay a killer […]

For the Good of the Game, by Twist Phelan

I’m getting ready for the game, trying not to listen to the whispers around me. The rest of the team still can’t believe I did it. The new owner doesn’t have a clue I’m guilty. But the team knows. It’s […]

The Best Detective in Town, by Mick Finlay

1897   It was too hot for London. The streets were quiet and unhappy, the air filled with the stink of rotting food. The pumps had gone dry, the street children begging cups of water then robbing anyone kind enough […]

Muggy Night, by Luke Kuhns

“Who’s there?” I prop myself up in bed. I’m sticky with sweat. The ceiling-fan whirls; its blades cut the hot air. The windchime dings and dongs out front and a dog barks in the distance. Crickets and god knows what […]

The Girl Who Loved French Films, by Christopher Fowler

Sheila grew up in Sheffield, a Northern English town that had once been famous for the magnificence of its cutlery and the bravery of its air force pilots. By the time she was seventeen its glory had faded, and the […]

The Masquerade – by Sarah Rayne

 An invitation to a masked ball, where nothing is quite as it seems… I seldom attend parties unless I think they might be of use in my career, so it was all the more remarkable to find myself attending this […]

The Ringmaster by Douglas Lindsay

No one ever knew his real name. They called him the Ringmaster. And now he was dead, his body crushed and battered and broken in an attack that was bestial in its ferocity. His killer, in a final act of […]

The Wheatear – by Thomas Mogford

It was during that strange dead zone between Christmas and New Year that Andy saw the lights. They came flashing through the white gauze blinds they kept down to prevent people from looking directly into their sitting room. Andy got […]

To Die For – by Bill Rogers

  Something had woken her. Melissa felt sure of that. She sat up wearily, and checked the bedside alarm. The eerie green display said 3.59am. She listened for a moment, and then sunk back onto the pillows. It would be […]

A Place for Everything – by Nicola Ford

‘Well I think it’s creepy. One day we’re all sitting at this table having a cuppa together and the next he’s skewered to death like some oversized doner kebab.’ I know it was rude but I had to get up […]

Sticks and Stones – by Rachel Sargeant

Mary slipped off the lead and watched Sadie give a gleeful shake of her ears and prance across the park. At least one of us is awake, she thought, yawning. What was I thinking of, coming out this early? She […]

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