Murder On Thames – Costello & Richards

Thames jacketI think I read somewhere that we tend to read digital books in shorter bursts of time than traditional print books – I may well have made that up, so if anyone could confirm or refute that bold statement, I’d be grateful – so, with an eye on the changing way we consume stories, authors and publishers are perhaps starting to tinker with the medium.

One of the interesting consequences of the rise of digital books is that there’s a wider range of stories of different lengths. Novellas have made something of a comeback in recent years, as well as short-stories, and a number of independent authors have been using Amazon to release heavily serialized narratives. There is, of course, a famous historical precedent for this kind of thing.

You, boy, at the back. Name the author.

Dickens, sir.

You’re quite correct.

And Stephen King, sir.

Oh. Yes, he did it as well, I believe.

Margaret Atwood, sir.

That’s enough now.

Cherringham is an innovative new crime format from German publisher Bastei. The first in the series, Murder On Thames, is published tomorrow. It’s co-written by US-based Matthew Costello and UK-based Neil Richards. A new eBook in the series featuring a self-contained mystery episode will be published each month. Interestingly, both authors have experience as scriptwriters and that’s what the Cherringham series reminds me of, a TV box-set.

Top up your Pimms for the blurb:

Cherringham is a quiet and peaceful town in the Cotswolds. Time moves slowly here, and nothing out of the ordinary ever happens, until one morning a woman’s body is discovered in the river. Sarah Edwards has just returned to Cherringham with her two children following the breakdown of her marriage. Sarah had been friends with Sammi Jackson – the woman in the river – before they both moved to London and she’s certain there is more to her death than meets the eye.But juggling the school run and her job as a web designer doesn’t leave much time to solve murder mysteries.

After the death of his wife, former NYPD homicide detective Jack Brennan has retired to Cherringham hoping for a quiet life. He soon realises “peace and quiet” isn’t really him and, despite his misgivings, he’s persuaded by Sarah to help her look into Sammi’s death. It quickly becomes clear that the case isn’t as simple as the police hope. From her violent ex-boyfriend to her alcoholic father, it seems everyone has something to hide. Sarah and Jack will need to use all their wits to get to the bottom of this case.

The first Cherringham story has a winning charm. It’s marketed very strongly as a cozy crime series, and that’s what you get, a Midsomer style investigation featuring two likeable and flirtatious sleuths. This first ‘episode’ sets up their crime-solving relationship and the picturesque and summery town where it’s set, so if you’re expecting NYPD cop Jack Brennan to tear up the village square in a French Connection style chase, you may have to look elsewhere. But if you have an hour or two to spare before picking up the kids from school, and can’t face reading a big slab of a thing, the Cherringham series may be just the thing.

Murder On Thames is available to download tomorrow as an eBook for £1.49. If it’s a format that does well, I would imagine you’ll be seeing more of these ‘episode’ style stories available to buy for your device.

Neil Richards will be the subject of our Intel Interview on Friday.

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