News / Ottawa

Ottawa mystery writers group is looking for the perfect crime

If you’re an aspiring writer with a dark imagination the 2016 Audrey Jessup short story contest is for you.

Darlene Cole, vice-president of the Capital Crime Writers, browses

Haley Ritchie/Metro

Darlene Cole, vice-president of the Capital Crime Writers, browses "Speak Ill of the Dead": a mystery novel set in Ottawa and written by local author Mary Jane Maffini.

They say crime doesn’t pay – unless you’re entering the Capital Crime Writer’s 2016 Audrey Jessup short story contest.

You won’t be able to retire on the winnings from the contest (first place will net you $100) but you will be recognized among a group of successful Ottawa-based crime writers.

“It’s a fun way to end off our season,” said Katherine Hobbs, president of the Capital Crime Writers. “The contest gives people a leg up and gets them noticed. It gives you something to put on a resume as an aspiring crime writer.”

The group has a 60-strong membership consisting of published authors, crime-fiction enthusiasts and hobby writers.

Their regular season includes pub nights and monthly meetings often featuring crime-related speakers like forensic experts and criminal researchers.

“The group centres around crime, mystery and murder,” said Hobbs.

Many of the capital’s mystery writers have set their stories around the world, but a few have decided to make Ottawa home for their fictional prying protagonists.

“Everybody likes reading a book that gives you a flavour of somewhere else, but I live in Westboro and it’s fun to read a book where someone is taking the number two bus and passing a place nearby,” said Hobbs.

You don’t need to be a registered member of the group to enter, but writers do need to live within the national capital region and be over the age of 18. Stories must unpublished, original and feature crime as a central theme.

Three secret judges – all crime authors – will decide on the winner.

Stories can be no more than 3,500 words and entries must be postmarked no later than April 1, 2016.

The contest is named after Audrey Jessup, a founding member of Capital Crime Writers who is remembered on the website as “smart, funny and just a little bit dangerous.”

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