Books by Martin Edwards

TEN YEAR STRETCH by Martin Edwards
Released: April 26, 2018

"This volume is for red-meat crime fans who love murder, mayhem, and plenty of it."
Twenty short stories celebrate the 10th anniversary of CrimeFest, Bristol's annual convention of crime writers and readers. Read full book review >
FOREIGN BODIES by Martin Edwards
Released: March 6, 2018

"The biggest surprise, of course, is the parochialism Edwards' introduction, headnotes, and selections reveal in readers and editors who limit their own investigations of the field to stories in the English language. You know who you are."
Ever resourceful anthologist Edwards, who recently showed British mysterymongers of the golden age venturing abroad (Continental Crimes, 2017), takes the next logical step: contemporaneous (1885-1960) stories by non-Anglophone authors. Read full book review >
THE LONG ARM OF THE LAW by Martin Edwards
Released: Jan. 2, 2018

"A collection of curiosities best spaced out over several sessions but still a most civilized anecdote to contemporary stories about the police, fictional or non-."
Tired of newspaper headlines that accuse cops of malfeasance or worse? Veteran editor Edwards (Continental Crimes, 2017, etc.) has the perfect antidote: 15 reprints of stories from 1908 to 1966 showing English police officers at (generally) their most sterling. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2017

"The field is so rich, in fact, that veteran editor Edwards (Miraculous Mysteries, 2017, etc.) can't have had much trouble in plucking these plums and near-plums—a feast for the equally nostalgic."
Despite Colin Watson's witty averral that golden-age mystery writers restricted their crimes to the mythical village of Mayhem Parva, quite a few of them crossed the Channel, as this collection of 14 past voyages, originally published between 1898 and 1959, eloquently attests. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2017

"Even the most quarrelsome readers, their blood pressures duly raised, will take comfort in comprehensive indexes that list titles and authors that didn't make the top 100."
An "unashamedly idiosyncratic" checklist from prolific novelist/editor/genre historian Edwards (The Dungeon House, 2015, etc.). Read full book review >
CRIMSON SNOW by Martin Edwards
Released: Jan. 3, 2017

"Just the thing for readers who crave a retreat from their own rounds of obligatory social events and a rationale assuring them that attending Christmas parties can provide quite a shock to other people's systems."
Indefatigable author/editor Edwards (Serpents in Eden, 2016, etc.), diving once more into the past, dusts off 11 mostly forgotten seasonal reprints from the golden age of the detective story. Read full book review >
SERPENTS IN EDEN by Martin Edwards
Released: March 1, 2016

"A volume that may not persuade readers that there's menace in every meadow but certainly shows that English crime isn't confined to the Smoke."
Thirteen short stories, mostly written between the two world wars, reveal the dark side of life in the English countryside. Read full book review >
MURDER AT THE MANOR by Martin Edwards
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"The more gracious the home, the worse the crime in this anthology by a who's who of mostly golden-age writers."
Let the guest beware in these 16 reprinted stories, spanning roughly 65 years, set in British country houses. Read full book review >
THE DUNGEON HOUSE by Martin Edwards
Released: Sept. 28, 2015

"Despite the gap of all those years, Edwards works exceptionally close to his characters. So every complication he piles on so generously comes with a fresh sting, even if many readers will be left more bemused than challenged by this intricate puzzler."
In his seventh Lake District mystery (The Frozen Shroud, 2013, etc.), Edwards shows that a troubled local family can rename the Dungeon House as Ravenglass Knoll, but they can't erase its violent past or prevent a recurrence of the same fatal passions. Read full book review >
Released: June 2, 2015

"One truth emerges unchallenged: when English detectives go on holiday, they really do seem to relax a bit, or at least their creators do."
Fourteen reprints from England's golden age of detection (here, 1910-1953) show that although favorite sleuths may go on vacation, murder never does. Read full book review >
Released: April 28, 2015

"Fans of Father Brown, Hercule Poirot, or Lord Peter Wimsey will find much of value in this book—which, though long and sometimes too slow, leaves readers wanting more."
Engrossing if occasionally glacial study of the Detection Club, a gathering of British mystery writers who defined the genre. Read full book review >
GUILTY PARTIES by Martin Edwards
Released: Aug. 1, 2014

"Though Johnston's story is the standout, the others are never less than professional and surprisingly varied, even when they're working the very same conventions."
This year's collection of two dozen new stories by members of the Crime Writers' Association (Guilty Consciences, 2012, etc.) shows just how far familiar recipes will take the contributors—and when they need to go the extra mile.Read full book review >
THE FROZEN SHROUD by Martin Edwards
Released: April 2, 2013

"The ensuing investigation is more routine than usual for the detecting pair (The Hanging Wood, 2011, etc.), but Edwards does an impressive job of linking the three murders across the long years."
A trio of murders spanning nearly a century poses an unusual challenge for DCI Hannah Scarlett of the Cumbria Constabulary's Cold Case Review Team—especially since one of the corpses is anything but cold. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2012

"The one cavil: very few guilty consciences on display here. Ah, that's England."
Seventeen mostly new, and veddy British, stories from the Crime Writers' Association (Original Sins, 2011, etc.). Read full book review >
TAKE MY BREATH AWAY by Martin Edwards
Released: June 15, 2011

"If you can accept his extravagantly improbable premise, Edwards (The Hanging Wood, 2011, etc.) spins a rattling good yarn, rich in incident and plot twists both unforeseeable and all-too-foreseeable."
A London lawyer turned writer whose friend was murdered before his eyes before he could reveal a terrible secret crosses swords with a woman hiding a terrible secret. Read full book review >
THE HANGING WOOD by Martin Edwards
Released: April 1, 2011

"Reliable Lake District family intrigue from a seasoned pro."
Hannah Scarlett's Cold Case Review Team has exactly one week to solve a 20-year-old mystery. Read full book review >
ORIGINAL SINS by Martin Edwards
Released: March 1, 2011

"Though it lacks the originality or sinfulness of the best recent American collections, hard to beat for story-by-story enjoyment."
Veteran author/editor Edwards (Past Crimes, 1999, etc.) collects 18 new English stories that mostly manage to shine even though they have little to do with the announced emphasis on original sin. Read full book review >
THE SERPENT POOL by Martin Edwards
Released: Feb. 1, 2010

"Apart from an over-the-top denouement, Edwards (Waterloo Sunset, 2008, etc.) provides a credible pairing of cozy and cerebral storytelling."
The spirit of Thomas De Quincey hovers over a Lake District murder case. Read full book review >
WATERLOO SUNSET by Martin Edwards
Released: April 1, 2008

"Edwards, ever the professional (The Arsenic Labyrinth, 2007, etc.), plots densely but lucidly and includes a surprisingly logical killer whose motive is perhaps just a mite obscure."
Welcome to your new offices. You're going to die within the week. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 15, 2007

"Ambitious, nuanced and brimful of Lake Country atmosphere—Edwards always gives top value—but cluttered with coincidences and some truly incredible revelations."
An anonymous tip reopens a decade-old disappearance for DCI Hannah Scarlett's Cold Case Review Team. Read full book review >
THE TRINITY CAT by Ellis Peters
Released: Nov. 30, 2006

"Though Peters (1913-95) disclaimed any special expertise in short fiction, the evidence here is varied and beautifully written, with particular attention to bringing even minor characters to life."
Fifteen tales of mystery and melodrama, all but four of them from the years before Peters, née Edith Pargeter, took the medieval mystery to bestselling new heights (Brother Cadfael's Penance, 1994, etc.). Read full book review >
THE CIPHER GARDEN by Martin Edwards
Released: Nov. 1, 2005

"Edwards (Eve of Destruction, 1998, etc.) expertly scatters clues to an ugly series of surprises in the quiet manner of Peter Robinson and the early P.D. James. English village life, as they're always saying, will never be the same."
Historian Daniel Kind has left the BBC, but he can't shake loose of unsolved murders that have baffled the Cumbria Constabulary. Read full book review >
PAST CRIMES by Martin Edwards
Released: Jan. 1, 1999

The theme for this year's offering (Perfectly Criminal, 1997, etc.) of 16 nearly-new stories from the Crime Writers' Association (the only reprint is Ruth Rendell's 1994 "Expectations") is historical crime. It's not exactly a novel approach, yet several of the tales—Gillian Linscott's Socratic dialogue, H.R.F. Keating's how-prove-it, Amy Myers's playful casting of Aphrodite as the detective investigating the murder of Adonis—are notable for their originality. Though the usual British settings naturally predominate—especially WWI (Anne Perry) and II (Eileen Dewhurst, Tony Wilmot, editor Edwards) and its aftermath (Andrew Taylor)—readers will also be treated to a French Renaissance intrigue (Alison White), a Victorian magician (Edward D. Hoch), a murder within the besieged city of Mafeking (Marjorie Eccles), a bold reworking of the General Strike of 1926 (Mat Coward), and a glimpse of the Healer of Galilee (Edward Marston). The biggest surprise: a holiday from the ubiquitous Middle Ages. Top marks for ingenuity go to Myers and Edwards; honors for literacy and atmosphere are shared among all comers. Read full book review >
EVE OF DESTRUCTION by Martin Edwards
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

Though Liverpool solicitor Harry Devlin's making his first appearance on this side of the pond, he's already had too much experience defending lowlifes like teenaged car-thief Shaun Quade to accept the tale that Steven Whyatt tells him. Yet accept it he does, swallowing Whyatt's story that he's tapped his own phone lines because he suspects his wife Becky's been two-timing him, and that he's got the lovers' conversations on tape although he doesn't know who the other man is and can't even bring himself to listen to them anymore. The whole setup screams setup, but Harry just keeps swallowing each piece of the puzzle he's fed—identifying Becky's jolly friend as staffing consultant Dominic Revill; insinuating himself into the acquaintance of Revill, his wife and partner Emma, and the couple's smoldering nanny Evelyn Bell; learning that Becky's first husband has been released from a mental institution and is now phoning her in heavy-breathing silence; listening to Whyatt complain about the perfidy of his brother Jeremy and Jeremy's wife Michelle, who are pressing him to sell the family nursery to a beastly corporation that will make it impossible for Whyatt to practice his best-loved vocation of designing garden mazes—and all the while overhearing Becky's plans gradually escalate from adultery to murder. Luckily, Edwards, who edited last year's Crime Writers anthology Perfectly Criminal, has more tricks up his sleeve than the Whyatts do, and some of Agatha Christie's trick of making you look exactly the wrong way. Read full book review >
Released: April 15, 1997

Only the Crime Writers Association, with its ties to the long tradition of ironic British understatement, would ever have sponsored an entire anthology of perfect-crime stories. With few exceptions (John Malcolm, Andrew Taylor, Keith Wright), the formula practically guarantees a comic or sardonic tone that can quickly pall. The main variety is provided by the split between unexpected strokes of justice (Catherine Aird, Matt Coward, Reginald Hill, H.R.F. Keating, Peter Lovesey)—most of them not all that unexpected—and generally more ingenious crimes without punishment (Kate Charles, Lindsey Davis, Eileen Dewhurst, Gîsta Gillberg, Lesley Grant-Adamson, Peter Lewis, Val McDermid, Susan Moody, Ian Rankin, Tony Wilmot, editor Edwards). Whatever you do, though, don't read all 19 stories at a sitting. They might give you ideas. Read full book review >