Readers have an insatiable appetite for murder mysteries – safely confined within the pages of a book. Mass education in Victorian days provided a growing audience for penny dreadfuls and nowadays there are authors and publishers who cater for every taste. Modern readers have a choice between forensic skills, courtroom clashes, drug dealing or gossipy villages. The central character may be a jaded professional, or an amateur sleuth whose insider knowledge solves the case. In recent years, there has also been a vogue for mediaeval investigators in the guise of scribes, monks or crowners (coroners).
My own taste runs to escapist cosy crime, since the newspapers contain a surfeit of real-life suffering. Over My Dead Body, an American website which offers a lively selection of murder in every genre, has just published another of my crime shorts: Verdict by Madeleine McDonald.
To read Verdict, visit www.overmydeadbody.com.