Wednesday, 3 November 2010

A Very Private Murder



Stuart Pawson is a friend of mine and a Murder Squad colleague who shares a publisher with me, so I cannot claim that I’m entirely unbiased, but I must say that I was very pleased to receive from Allison & Busby a copy of his latest book, A Very Private Murder, and equally delighted to read it.

Stuart is one of those relatively unusual novelists who has focused throughout his career on a single detective character. He’s tried a few non-series short stories, but all the novels feature D.I. Charlie Priest, a very likeable fellow indeed. I well remember Stuart once reading a very funny, and rather rude, scene from an earlier book when we did a Squad event at Knutsford, and the respectable Cheshire ladies in the audience absolutely loved it.

This time, Charlie finds himself investigating the death of the mayor of Heckley. The story is full of Stuart’s trademark dry humour, whether he muses on nasal hair razors or Friday night in a small town. And I love the idea of domino players in a pub being compared to the chess players in The Seventh Seal. The book is packed with great lines.

The first person narrative technique works very well for Charlie, and there is so much pleasure to be derived from the Yorkshire ambience (I speak as the son of a Yorkshire woman, who was firmly of the view that there was no better place in the world) that the plots sometimes seem of secondary importance. But Stuart Pawson always tells a good story, and tells it well.

The photo, by the way, shows Stuart and me in Nevada a few years ago and was taken by Stuart's wife Doreen. Nothing to do with his book, admittedly, but a reminder to me of a fun trip with two great companions.

10 comments:

Fiona said...

That does sound like fun, Martin: another author for me to 'discover' following a recommendation from you!(And more entertaining than your recent laugh-a-minute Sunday night television....I shall definitely stick to books!)

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Thanks for this review. I always particularly enjoy reading books that friends have written, and it sounds as though this is quite a good read. Thanks for sharing.

Martin Edwards said...

Fiona, I think there's a good chance you'll like Stuart's books.
Margot, I agree. I usually mention the fact if I'm especially friendly with the author I'm reviewing. I'd never give a bad review to a friend's book, but equally I wouldn't want to mislead, so I'd avoid mentioning a book if I didn't like it.

Ian Edward said...

Thanks for this intro to Stuart, I'm looking forward to checking this one out (top title!) and I'm also liking the Detection Books page on your website,interesting stuff.

Dorte H said...

I have read Stuart Pawson´s debut, and I enjoyed it a lot.

BUT there was a poor, Catholic priest in it who had finally found the love of his life and was willing to fight for her. I haven´t quite forgiven Stuart for killing him off in the first chapter. So unfair!

Nan said...

Thank you! I'll go looking for his work. And I think I could easily agree with your mother!

Martin Edwards said...

Ian, welcome to the blog!

Martin Edwards said...

Dorte, I think you will enjoy his other books too.
Nan, greetings. My mum remained incredibly proud of her Yorkshire roots till the day she died.

Minnie said...

Dorte has reminded me of an early plot element I also found distressing ... but Stuart Pawson gets better & better, so it's great to have this prompt to re-investigate Charlie Priest. I love his witty kind of humour, too.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Minnie, he certainly does!