I've mentioned how difficult it is these days for a writer like me, who is scarcely a bestseller, to get a mention in the review columns of the major national newspapers and magazines. So I was thrilled on Saturday when The Hanging Wood was reviewed in the Times by Marcel Berlins.
And I was even more thrilled by the content of the review. When I say that the other three novelists covered were Mark Billingham, Ruth Rendell, and George Pelecanos, you can see what I mean about bestsellers. It's great company to be in, flattering in itself.
A fortnight ago I told the story of my first bad review. So I hope I can be forgiven, in my delight, for quoting this good review – especially as it raises a couple of wider issues that I'd like to cover in future posts.
"Martin Edwards writes the kind of whodunnits too often labelled, utterly unfairly, old-fashioned – because they do not contain meticulous descriptions of bloodshed, rampant psychopaths or emotionally tormented coppers. The Hanging Wood is the fifth in his Lake District series. A woman whose brother disappeared 20 years ago, when she was seven, tries to persuade the police that their uncle, generally believed to have killed him, is innocent. No one takes seriously. Two days after her final plea, she is found suffocated in a grain silo on her family's farm. Other deaths follow. The main police character, Hannah Scarlett, head of the cold cases section, is appealingly normal; killings take place off-stage; there are many suspects; characters are drawn with insight. A lovely read."
I'll talk about these issues of fashion in crime, and the depiction of violence, on another day. For the moment, I'm not only savouring this review, but getting on with my fiction at last after too long a gap because of day job commitments.