I mentioned last week the trepidation with which one awaits the first reviews of a new book. Well, I'm delighted to report that The Golden Age of Murder has got off to a grand start pre-publication, with a very gratifying "starred" review in Publishers' Weekly, and some lovely comments in Kirkus Reviews. Needless to say, I'm not above quoting some of the good bits...
“A comprehensive and well-written narrative that combines biography with literary criticism... Along the way, he dispels numerous myths about Golden Age detective fiction: for example, that it was ‘an essentially British form of escapism... an effete counterpart to the tough and realistic crime fiction produced in the United States’...The trenchant analysis is coupled with revelations about the private lives of these very public authors, offering new information for casual fans and students of the genre alike.”
Over to Kirkus, “As Edwards writes, with a suitably enticing hook, 'Why was Christie haunted by the drowning of the man who adapted her work for the stage? What convinced Sayers of the innocence of a man convicted of battering his wife to death with a poker?' Having set up a fleet of questions, Edwards proceeds to answer them with murder-laced aplomb. He has a nicely naughty sense of humor about it, too, for the well-heeled Detection Club members often poked into business that was more than a little infra dig..Yet, when the tale turns tragic—not just because of awful crimes, but also because of sad developments in the lives of Sayers and other members—Edwards writes appropriately and well."
I'm naturally very happy with these comments,. and the overarching point made by Kirkus: "Engrossing...leaves the reader wanting more." My aim has been to write a book that will do more than merely preach to the converted, and will appeal to as wide a readership as possible, sharing the pleasures of Golden Age fiction with a new group of readers as well as fellow devotees. You can't please everyone, and of course not everyone will agree with my opinions. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed for more positive reaction when the book finally appears.