This week sees the publication - on Thursday, to be precise, of Sepulchre Street, the fourth novel in the Rachel Savernake series. You can buy it from your local bookshop or order it here on Amazon
I really enjoy writing Rachel's adventures - I'm having a whale of a time with book five, which I started recently: spoiler alert, in that one, Rachel goes to the seaside. In Sepulchre Street, there are key scenes on Romney Marsh, while the eponymous Sepulchre Street is to be found in the ancient and lovely town of Rye in East Sussex. And if American readers are wondering, the book will be published next year by Poisoned Pen Press (an imprint of Sourcebooks), under the title The House on Graveyard Lane. Different title, but same book!
And here are some of the reviews;
Savernake is a 1930s feminist of independent means, who brings beauty and
brains to her mission to expose the seamier side of high society.
adventure finds her at a surrealist exhibition where the artist displays live
models to re-enact violent deaths. The artist herself features as Marie
Antoinette on the guillotine. A performance that turns horribly real when the
verdict is beyond question, except that before the fatal act, the victim had
appealed to Rachel to unmask whoever had forced her to take her own life.
star-struck crime reporter in tow, Rachel embarks on a delightfully convoluted
plot involving a glamourous courtesan with royal connections, a Soho gangster
bent on revenge and a hit man who leaves nothing to chance.
In treating us
to what is as much a thriller as a traditional mystery, Edwards hits all the
right notes to create a palpable hit.’
Barry Turner, Daily Mail
book…Martin has done something rather magnificent here. If this was written as a pure thriller, it would be a deeply satisfying
book, but woven throughout the thrills is a cleverly plotted mystery – with a cluefinder
at the end to prove it. It’s worth reading, but I do warn the reader that
they’ll end up repeatedly kicking themselves at the things that they missed…All
in all, this is an absolute triumph…The best book so far in an outstanding
In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel
‘I have a particular love of the golden age crime fiction and Sepulchre Street transports you back
gloriously to the period, you can breathe in the setting, you get a real sense
of time and location
For me Martin Edwards is the modern day master of the Golden Age
crime era and Sepulchre Street is the
perfect example of why.
This is the fourth novel to feature Rachel Savernake and
possibly the best to date (it does though easily read as a standalone).
Here we have Rachel asked to solve a murder before it has even
happened, but then has there even been a murder ?
The opening of the book is one of the most inventive I have
read, perfectly setting up what is to follow.
Martin Edwards poses many questions, with a wonderfully
inventive plot, the writing combines all that is good with the golden age but
with a modern day twist.
plotting is superbly thought out, constructed in a way that leaves a few clues
along the way, though you may not always pick them up, the book is paced
perfectly for the period and just flows along. There are touches of the gothic
which only heightens the reading enjoyment. In parts there is a conspiracy
taking place with some definite unsavoury characters who act first then ask
questions later, overall a slick and taut plot knitted together by the quality
of the writing.
Plotting though on its own is nothing if you don’t have the
characters to match, this is another area where the book shines, it is hard not
like Rachel Savernake, strongly and fiercely independent she comes across as a
no nonsense person not averse to taking a risk or two, then you have Jacob
Flint crime reporter for the Clarion a man who likes to get himself into tight
corners, thankfully he can rely on Rachel to come to his aid, i’m never quite
sure of the relationship between the pair but it works, they look out for each
other. In this book I particularly liked the roles that Martha, Hetty and
Trueman played. I love the way that characters have developed through the
books. Martin Edwards writes characters that are relatable, you get a real
sense of who each are and the period in which they live.
There is a certain humour within the book, equally its drips
with tension and drama, as it races towards the ending. Location plays its
part, the story moves seamlessly around, the way the book is written you can
feel yourself there.
One area as a reader I love about this period, is that the
crimes are solved by good old fashioned leg work and thought.
Sepulchre Street is a superb read, by a writer who knows how to
engage with the reader, I was captivated throughout, the pace of the book
perfect for the times. It takes the best of the golden age and combines it with
a read for today.
I find the cluefinder at the end most eluminating, well worth
going back and re reading.
5* read which I would highly recomend and one which will appeal
to all, one of the year’s top reads.
Martin Edwards is a favourite author of mine, writing, plotting,
character, location, setting his books have it all.’
‘I did wonder if coming into the series at book 4
would present any issues, but I’m very happy to report that it didn’t – and I
found Sepulchre Street a delight from start to finish!…a complex
and deeply satisfying mystery which draws in changing identities, 1930s
gangster violence, the emotional entanglements of the very high and mighty,
some very worried civil servants and even a paid assassin! It’s a fascinating
mix, and thoroughly engrossing from start to finish.
It has to be said that Martin Edwards really can write. His plotting and
narrative are brilliantly done, and he weaves together marvellous threads which
culminate in some wonderfully dramatic climaxes throughout the book. Sepulchre
Street itself is tucked away down in Rye, and there’s a particular section of
the narrative which draws a number of characters to the town, all converging on
that one area and driven by different motives – really clever! There are
multiple plot elements but Edwards never loses his grip on these, and the final
resolution is one I would never have guessed!
There are so many intriguing aspects of “Sepulchre Street”, not least
the issues which Edwards introduces. His knowledge of the period is
comprehensive, and one particular element is handled with great sensitivity
(I’m trying to avoid spoilers here) He also builds in some lovely little
in-jokes and references to GA crime which I really enjoyed! The settings are
vividly drawn and atmospheric, and I really felt I was inside the action – the
book is quite a page-turner. Although rooted in a period when GA crime
flourished, Edwards’ narrative introduces harder-edged elements at times, and
there is a real sense of threat, particularly from Ambrose and his cronies.
They’re a nasty bunch, and although the action is not gratuitously graphic,
enough is said for the reader to be very keen to avoid falling into their
As well as plot and setting, Edwards really excels when it comes to
characters. His players are lively, entertaining and very well conjured; I was
particularly impressed by his ability to draw such strong female characters,
and also to weave some of those issues women face into his plot without them
ever sounding forced. Central to the narrative, of course, is Rachel Savernake
herself, and although I haven’t read any of her previous exploits, enough was
said about her backstory for me to fill in her past. The daughter of grim Judge
Savernake, she seems to have had a childhood under his thumb which went to form
her singular character. Self-taught, as were her loyal band of retainers the
Truemans (who are more like friends and colleagues), she combines beauty and intelligence,
and is a most engaging heroine. I loved how she always seemed in complete
control, particularly when Jacob is failing to cope!!
I thoroughly enjoyed this clever, absorbing and entertaining book; it
succeeds on all levels, mixing a wonderfully conjured Golden Age setting with
excellent plot and characters, and the pace never flags. I was on tenterhooks
at some points in the story, rooting for the goodies and deploring the baddies;
but the story is never simplistic, and Edwards has his characters display some
real sensitivity towards those they’re pursuing. There’s definitely the feeling
that Rachel in particular is driven by a need for excitement, mysteries to
solve and dangerous living, rather than simple crime fighting! Entertainingly,
Edwards provides a Clue Finder at the end which reveals points in the story
where attentive readers would have picked up important hints to the motives and
solutions which was a lovely touch. “Sepulchre Street” was a wonderful read,
and I’m now very keen to go back to the start and exploring the adventures of Rachel
Savernake from the very beginning!’
Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings
‘Sepulchre Street is another fantastic,
intriguing detective story from one of my favourite series…I loved the
premise…I really enjoyed being back with Rachel and Jacob, solving another
mystery with them…This book has a great pace to it…The author drops lots of
clues throughout the book so you have to pay attention to everything…There is
also a cluefinder at the back…I loved this idea and enjoyed going back to see
the (many) clues I missed…while I do think it could be read as a standalone,
I’d urge you to start at the beginning as this is a fantastic series!’
Over the Rainbow blog
‘Sepulchre Street is the fourth in the
Rachel Savernake series and I think it is the best so far. It grips from the
start…I loved the nods to Golden Age crime fiction, the cluefinder, the map. A
lot of the fun of the novel lies in the period details and the way in which the
1930s are lovingly evoked: the clothes, the nightclubs, the songs (some
invented, but very much in the spirit of the time). Cocktails were all the rage
and their appearance is something of a running joke…hat next outing can’t come
soon enough for me. I romped though the novel far too quickly and didn’t want
it to end. All in all a splendid read.’
A Reading Life
wonderful homage to the Golden Age. After the dazzling opening, the tightly
knit plot moves around different viewpoints…the plot certainly races
along…clever use of actual events…and nuggets of historical information. The
settings are atmospheric and the writing enjoyable – in short, this book is a
classic crime treat…A cleverly plotted, witty whodunit which transports you to
a roller-coast ride in 1930s London.’
Marsali Taylor, Promoting Crime Fiction
a nod to Golden Age fiction, Edwards has written another corker of a
thriller/detective story set in 1930’s London. Readers who have already read
one, or all, of the previous three Rachel Savernake books will know to expect a
puzzle Poirot himself would be proud to have solved! You will need to pay
attention to every word to try to work out the ending…
only read book three in this series so far (highly recommended) and I was
really looking forward to meeting Rachel and Jacob again. Although she is the
brains behind the investigation, they work very well together and she gets him
out of a number of scrapes in her clear thinking level headed way.I thoroughly
enjoyed it and would recommend it to fans of Agatha Christie who like a good
puzzle to solve.’
Two Heads are Better Than One blog
‘It’s been wonderful being back in the world of Rachel Savernake that
Martin Edwards creates.
Wendy Reads Books blog
absolutely love this series…Rachel Savernake is an excellent protagonist. No
nonsense, clever, tough, and mysterious herself, she loves a challenge…A
twisting piece of thrilling golden age crime fiction to get your teeth into!’
Travels along My Bookshelf
‘There are many questions to answer, and the clues are there for those
daring enough to solve them...I can see why they call Martin the Master of
British Crime Fiction and I thoroughly enjoy reading his work. For me, the
Rachel Savernake stories are the best and I just love to find out what she’s
been up to along with her brilliant side-kicks.
Murder Jo Wrote
‘I liked Rachel’s character, she is witty, clever and inquisitive.
Alongside her sidekick Jacob Flint, the pair try to unpick the puzzle of
Demaris’s death and the mystery surrounding it.
Enjoyably there is also a touch of the macabre and matched with a
fast-paced, chic and sophisticated setting of the 1930s rounded this story off
for me. The atmosphere and detail of this golden era pull you in and fully
transports you to a classic world from the past. I’m also a fan of a female-led
narrative and Rachel is the perfect leading lady.
Secret World of a Book
Street will appeal to fans of classic crime fiction (think Agatha
Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers) and those who enjoy the challenge of
unravelling an intricate plot. A neat touch is the addition of a ‘cluefinder’
at the end of the book…Intriguing, clever, entertaining.’
What Cathy Read
‘Sepulchre Street is probably my favourite to date; four books in the characters are developing nicely… Part of the pleasure of these books is in the details and references that Edwards sprinkles through them… There's a lot going on in here with all sorts of twists and turns, some interesting hints for future directions the series might take, as many easter eggs as a dedicated classic crime fan could hope for, and a host of other fun references to chase up. It's no easy thing to build a convincing past but I think Edwards does a really good job of it. It's his obvious knowledge of and affection for Golden Age crime that makes it work for me, coupled with a cast of characters who are neither self-consciously old fashioned, or entirely modern but stuck in fancy dress.
Add the gothic atmosphere (John Dickson Carr would
be proud) and character development to the other elements here and it's a hard
to beat series.’
Desperate Reader blog
‘There is a dark, edge of your seat atmosphere in this book
and as Rachel investigates you feel like you just don’t know what is around the
corner. This is a thrilling and haunting read that is perfect for fans of
historical crime and detective fiction.’
A Cottage Full of