Is a mystery box-shaped? Could you write one?
Margery Allingham was an English crime writer best known for her detective stories featuring Albert Campion a sleuth who appears to be an upper class silly ass but in reality is a resourceful crime-solving genius. The BBC serialised eight of her novels in 1989 and 1990 when the hero was played by Peter Davison (a former Doctor Who). The Margery Allingham Society is running a mystery short story competition in conjunction with the Crime Writers Association. Two of the entry requirements is that the short story must be unpublished AND it must fit with Margery’s definition of a mystery.
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
You can find all the information you need HERE The entry fee is £10 and first prize is a nice, round £1000. The closing date isn’t until next spring – Sunday March 16th to be exact at 4pm (tea time!) But I suggest you fool yourself and make your own deadline December 31st. It is a very good idea to send in competition entries well before the deadline because:
1) It saves any heartache about technical problems. Trust me, printers know when deadlines approach.
2) You can put it in your 2014 diary as something done which is always nice to look at when you have so many other thing in the to-do list
3) If the judges are reading entries as they come in rather than wait until the competition ends there is a good chance they will be able to give more time and attention to early entries.
You can find out more about Campion in this Strand Magazine article on great literary detectives.
To get an insight into Margery Allingham’s style you might enjoy this website on TV Tropes. Apparently she used such devices as Amnesiac Hero, Battle Butlers and a Bavarian Fire Drill (this is where if the central character assumes the right authoritative tone others will follow). Of course, you can also read her books. I don’t think they are in print anymore but there are available in Kindle editions and audio.
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