Antony M. Brown is an award-winning essayist, former magazine editor-in-chief and member of the Crime Writers' Association. He published several Cold Case Jury e-books - true crime mysteries in which the reader is invited to deliver the verdict on what they believe might have happened - before signing with Mirror Books in January 2017.
I guess a good starting question is, How did I get into writing about historical murders? I've always been a fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and was fascinated by them as a university student. Not surprisingly, I'm interested in unsolved murders - the "three pipe problems", as the great detective would call them - from the past. As Thomas De Quincey said in the 19th century, there is something more to a "fine murder" than the amount of spilt blood, and I have been researching these vintage homicides for many years. The Cold Case Jury Collection is the culmination of this work. My first book was self-published in late 2015 before I signed with Mirror Books in January 2017.
What else? I like board gaming and - showing a disturbingly geeky side and a love of the past - playing around with vintage computers - the 8-bit machines from the late 70s and early 80s that hooked up to the TV, used tape cassettes and had less memory than a small GIF file. Moving swiftly on, I also love hiking and travel. It was while I was travelling that I almost became embroiled in one of the most shocking crimes of the later years of the last century.
I was on a trip to the US immediately after the Oklahoma bombing in 1995. A nationwide hunt was underway for a second bomber, who was believed to be driving a white Mercury Tracer hire car, exactly the same type of car I had collected from the airport. I got lost on an Arizona freeway and made two u-turns in quick succession (this happened in the days before satnav) and soon after I heard screaming sirens. A nervous traffic cop pulled me over. He ordered me out of the car to open the trunk and, when he saw it packed full of large suitcases, he drew his gun! It was a terrifying moment, but, after much questioning, the cop realised I was not the man. Timothy McVeigh was executed for the attack in 2001. A second bomber was never found.
And what about books? My favourite author is probably George Orwell, despite Will Self calling his writing style 'pedestrian'. I admire Orwell's clarity and keen sense of observation. Of true crime writers, I like Edgar Lustgarten for similar reasons. Sadly, I often find true crime books long-winded and turgid. I hope mine are a pacy and enjoyable blend of narrative and creative non-fiction. I hope this makes a compelling read. Please let me know - e-mail, Facebook (@ambauthor) or Twitter (@ccjury). For news and views please read my blog.
Finally, authors are human. Although, I endeavour to make my non-fiction books as accurate as possible, I would be surprised if there were zero errors and mistakes. If you believe you have spotted one, please let me know (via email), so I can correct matters for future editions. Thank you for your help.
Antony M. Brown