Monday, 30 November 2009

The First Verdict



Whenever one produces a new book, inevitably one awaits the verdict of readers and reviewers with a mixture of hope and trepidation. It's important, I think, for an author to retain belief in his or her book even if it is not widely appreciated to begin with - but of course, it's much more pleasurable if the early reaction is positive.

I have high hopes of The Serpent Pool, because although I struggled over it at first, later on it felt as though the plot strands had come together in just the way I'd hoped when I started out on chapter one. And the response of my agent and various publishers has been extremely encouraging. Even so, that is no guarantee of good reviews (or any reviews, these days.)

So I'm glad to say that Booklist has given the novel the thumbs-up in advance of publication, and I'm so pleased and relieved that I can't resist recording David Pitt's assessment in full:

'Book lovers, especially fans of nineteenth-century writer and opium addict Thomas de Quincey, will enjoy the latest Lake District mystery. DCI Hannah Scarlett reopens another cold case, this one involving the drowning death, seven years ago, of a young woman. But Hannah is distracted by her personal life, especially by her rocky relationship with book dealer Marc Amos, who is himself rather upset over the death of one his best customers (whose murder-by-fire opens the novel). Meanwhile, Hannah’s friend and sometime sidekick, historian Daniel Kind, is deep into a new book on de Quincey (who was among the first writers to consider murder as the basis of a literary art form), but he, too, soon becomes distracted: his sister thinks she has accidentally killed her lover, who also happens to be a book collector. In his usual leisurely but always compelling way, Edwards pulls together these various plot threads, rewarding the patient reader with a story that is complex and intellectually stimulating. Certainly the most labyrinthine of the Lake District novels, but perhaps also the best.'

16 comments:

Karen (Euro Crime) said...

A couple of us (on friendfeed) with e-book readers have downloaded a review copy via NetGalley. I'm looking forward to it very much.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Very nice review, Martin! I love cold cases and I'm looking forward to your release.

Great cover, by the way!

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Congratulations on a fine review : ). I'm very eager to read The Serpent Pool, and I look forward to its release. The other Lake District novels are really well done, and I'm sure this one will be as well.

Nicole_Hadaway said...

Oh goodie! Now I know what I can get my mystery-loving mother for Valentine's Day!

Congratulations, it looks very good!

Minnie said...

You've definitely sold it to me, Martin! Off to order a copy ... best wishes for the sales.

Jilly said...

I'll look forward to reading it - sounds great to me.

Maxine said...

Is the book available yet in print on paper version? I'd love to read it, and will certainly review it! Very much looking forward to laying my hands on a copy.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks very much for these comments - I hope you find the book lives up to expectations!
Karen, you surprised me there - I haven't heard of NetGalley and had no idea the book could be downloaded. Talk about the wonders of technology...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Lovely review, Martin. Congratulations!

Dorte H said...

"Certainly the most labyrinthine of the Lake District novels, but perhaps also the best."

I don´t get that ´but´. It must surely be ´and´ - or are there readers who don´t love labyrinthine stories???

Congratulations, and I also think the cover is very tasteful.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Patti!
And Dorte - you can be sure that I love labyrinthine stories, whether reading or writing!

Paul Beech said...

Great first review, Martin. ‘The Serpent Pool’ sounds like a sure-fire winner with all who like their crime multi-layered, mysterious and laced with historical interest – not just “the patient reader”! Good cover too.

Fascinating that you embarked on this “labyrinthine” novel without a fully developed synopsis and managed to pull it off with all plot strands neatly tied – that “late twist” referred to in your previous post, no doubt! Would you use this approach again?

A terrific series that will surely swell the ranks of summer visitors to the Lake District, to the benefit of the local economy – definitely a good thing in the wake of the recent floods. Any sniffs of interest from TV companies yet? Early days, I know, but I hope No 5 is coming along well.

Regards, Paul

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Paul, much appreciated.
I will probably try the same approach again with a future book, but the next one will be more planned in advance.
There has been TV interest in the Lakes books on three occasions, but no satisfactory deal as yet...

Ann Elle Altman said...

I am always on the lookout for new British mystery writers. Especially writers of series. I have to say, my favorite writer right now is Val McDermid (I love her Tony Hill series) but I do like Caroline Graham, Steven Booth and anything by Agatha Christie. I will look online for your books.

ann

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Ann - nice to hear from you. I enjoy all the writers you mention, so I hope you will find my books are not only entertaining but perhaps have something in common with theirs.

Kerrie said...

two things Martin- my review is done - is it ok to publish it on my blog-
Second -something I'd rather discuss by email - see your martinedwards10 at btconnect acccount - I've sent an email to that - either that or email me at kasmith9@esc.net.au