8 July 2019
The Margery Allingham Society has agreed with the Crime Writers’ Association that the popular short mystery competition will run for at least another five years, until 2024. The Society, set up to honour and promote the writings of the great Golden Age author whose well-known hero is Albert Campion, works with the CWA to operate and fund the writing competition that opens for entries in the autumn on the CWA’s website and closes every February.
Each year the competition attracts many entries from the UK and overseas and the winners are announced at CrimeFest, the international crime writing convention, in May. The short story can be up to a generous 3,500 words long and must echo Margery Allingham’s definition of a mystery.
This year the winner was Ray Bazowski, with ‘A Perfect Murderer’. Ray wins £500 and two passes to CrimeFest for 2020. Ray says: ‘Aspiring writers are routinely told to write what they know. Such advice is less plausible for writers of murder mysteries, especially those who take the point-of-view of murderers, or at least I hope so. In my case, what knowledge I have of the subject is speculative, and entirely incidental to my regular job of teaching politics at York University in Toronto.’ Ray is considering writing a novel next.
Runner-up with ‘Decluttering’ was Rosie de Vekey, a teacher who lives with her family in east London. As she has a passion for acting, she came to writing through plays and has written a number of pieces for Network Theatre, Waterloo. As a teacher and mum, she often writes children's fiction too. Decluttering is one of a collection of stories Rosie has written, set in the near future, on aspects of mental health.
Next year’s competition will emphasise the definition of mystery by Margery Allingham with more points allocated to how well the story matches it, and, just to reinforce the point, it will be renamed the Margery Allingham Short Mystery competition.
Barry Pike, Chair of the Margery Allingham Society, says: ‘We’re very happy to be able to continue our co-sponsorship, along with the CWA, of our short mystery competition for another five years.’
Linda Stratmann, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, says: ‘We are delighted that the CWA’s very rewarding association with the Margery Allingham Society is going to continue. We congratulate Ray and Rosie and look forward to helping other talented mystery writers with their careers in the years to come.’
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Note to Editors
Margery Allingham’s definition of a mystery is as follows:
‘The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.’
Margery’s best known crime novels include The Tiger in the Smoke and The Crime at Black Dudley, which first introduced Albert Campion (later winningly played by actor Peter Davison in the TV series) to readers.
The Margery Allingham Society was founded in 1988 to celebrate the life and works of Margery Allingham, one of the four great Queens of Crime from the ‘Golden Age’ of detective fiction, largely seen as the period in the twentieth century between the world wars. https://margeryallingham.org.uk/
The competition is read by authorities appointed by the Margery Allingham Society and the CWA, and is judged by an expert panel from the Society. Entry costs £12.
Photos courtesy of the Margery Allingham Society.