Winner of the Arnold Bennett Book Prize!
When Bunch Courtney is riding across the South Downs the last thing she expects to stumble upon is the body of her friend Jonathan Frampton. The shotgun at his feet speaks of suicide but Bunch is not convinced.
But an undermanned wartime police force are more than happy to write it off and Bunch is hard pressed to persuade Chief Inspector Wright otherwise… until, that is, the second body is found.
In the winter of 1940 a tiny rural community on the Sussex Downs, already preparing for invasion, finds itself deep in the grip of a snowy landscape with an ice-cold killer on the loose.
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Arnold Bennett Book Prize: Author wins top award for her ‘historical murder mystery’ novel
Jan Edwards was named winner of the Arnold Bennett Book Prize
By Sentinel Reporter 18:26, 10 JUN 2018
A reiki master and Dr Who enthusiast – who was also Britain’s first working lady locksmith – has been named as the winner of this year’s Arnold Bennett Book Prize.
Jan Edwards scooped the award for her historical murder mystery, Winter Downs.
Jan, who now runs Penkhull Press with her partner Peter Coleborn, received a cheque for £500 following a ceremony at The North Staffs Medical Institute in Hartshill as part of the annual Arnold Bennett Conference.
She was on holiday and unable to attend but said: “This is a great honour and I’m totally astonished. When I entered I didn’t have the slightest idea I’d be shortlisted, let alone win. I hope people gain as much enjoyment from reading the book as I did from writing it.”
The prize was collected on Jan’s behalf by fellow author Misha Herwin, co-editor of the book.
Misha said: “It’s just wonderful. The heroine of Winter Downs is an amazing character. She’s going to be carrying on for a series of books.”
Misha Herwin was co-editor of the book
Dr Catherine Burgass, a research fellow at Staffordshire University and chairman of the judging panel, said: “We were spoilt for choice when it came to the judging.”
Fellow judge Dr Nick Bentley, a senior lecturer at Keele University , said: “I particularly enjoyed the historical context of the winning book, which I thought was well worked.”
The judging panel also included The Sentinel’s Jenny Amphlett and prize-winning author Lisa Blower. Lisa said: “The winning book felt Hardy-esque in places, with a strong sense of history that was well researched.
Jan Edwards is part of the script team for Olive Hawthorne: Daemons of Devils End – a three disc Dr Who DVD. She is a member of city writing group Renegade Writers, and helps organise the quarterly Six By Six event at the city library, where writers are invited to deliver readings. The Arnold Bennett Book Prize is organised by the Arnold Bennett Society in partnership with The Sentinel. It was established last year to help mark the 150th anniversary of Arnold Bennett’s birth. The competition is open to any writer from North Staffordshire, or authors from elsewhere who have written about life in the area.
The five shortlisted books were: poetry anthology A Less Clear Dream by Roger Bloor; historic murder mystery Winter Downs by Jan Edwards; murder mystery Red is the Colour by Mark L. Fowler; dystopian superhero novel Superhero City by Eddie Skelson and illustrated children’s book Nana Duck by Kathy Tallentire.