Wednesday, 15 February 2012


I hesitate to say this, because the general standard is always so high, but the latest issue of CADS, edited by Geoff Bradley, is possibly as good as the best of any of its 61 predecessors. It’s absolutely full of great things (I admit these include Angela Youngman’s very kind review of The Hanging Wood) and if you like traditional fiction, you really will enjoy this magazine.

One of the glories of CADS is the sheer unpredictability of the content. There are things here you simply won’t find anywhere else. Contributors aren’t afraid to buck trends. For instance, B.J. Rahn ( a distinguished academic and expert on crime fiction) writes a thoughtful but severely critical piece about the highly popular Camilla Lackberg. Meanwhile Philip Scowcroft not only praises The Five Red Herrings (I don’t share Philip’s enthusiasm, suffice to say) in one article but also contributes another with the memorable title “Visits to Doncaster by Crime Authors” (in which I get a kind mention, and I must say how much I did enjoy my visit to Doncaster!)

Liz Gilbey, a wise and witty writer, contributes “the best of the blurbs” (e.g “A really thrilling thriller which deals cunningly with murder, death and hocus-pocus”, of a Ngaio Marsh title) and a fascinating article about Ian Mackintosh, of whom I’d never heard. Curtis Evans, that splendid researcher, has a nice article about T.S. Eliot as a crime critic, pointing out that Eliot was a pioneer in terms of setting out "rules of the game", while Mike Ripley covers C.S. Forester. My very first contribution to CADS, many years ago, was about Forester, but that was before the rediscovery of that marvellous book The Pursued. I was interested to see that Ripley’s views and mine on Forester’s excellence are pretty much identical.

There are countless other gems, including a short article by Arthur Robinson on Anthony Berkeley’s stage plays, and one by John Cooper on Michael Gilbert’s radio plays. Bruce Shaw casts fresh light on E.C. Bentley, while Bob Adey has unearthed rare articles by Henry Wade and others. Cooper’s article about Clifford Witting, a writer I’ve never read, made me want to read his books. Other expert contributors include Marv Lachman and Barry Pike. The TBR pile will mount! All in all, Geoff Bradley really has excelled himself. I can't wait for the next issue.


Maxine Clarke said...

Is it available in e-format?

Criticising Camilla Lackberg is something of a bandwaggon, unfortunately, since Lief G O Persson wrote a nasty article (I think also went on Swedish TV) to criticise her and Liza Marklund some years ago - their crime was to write "lipstick" fiction, apparently.

There are many, many worse authors about, witness the new "kidnap/abuse" ones coming out of Sweden currently (and other Scandinavian countries). Yuk.

At least Lackberg is unpretentious and writes a good, solid crime-fiction yarn - rather of the type that you yourself and Ann Cleeves write, if I may venture a comparison.

Deb said...

I look forward to reading this. And you can put me on the B.J. Rahn bandwagon. I don't know who he is, but I thought I was alone in finding Lackberg an extremely boring writer whose work is full of "tell" instead of "show." Now I know I'm not the only one who finds her work difficult to get into.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Maxine. I fear it isn't in e-format, but its personal, home-made feel is part of its great charm. Strongly recommended!
By an odd coincidence, I've just been sent a review copy of The Drowning, so I may get to find out more about her style. Meanwhile thanks for your generous comparison. It gives me hope I too will one day sell millions!

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Deb, I'm interested that two very experienced crime fans such as Maxine and yourself have different takes on this writer. But perhaps I shouldn't be. It's all a matter of personal preference, and it would be a dull world if we all thought the same I guess.
That said, anyone who likes traditional crime will, I'm sure, enjoy issue 62 of CADS, no question!