Monday, 15 August 2011

A Moment to Savour


I've mentioned how difficult it is these days for a writer like me, who is scarcely a bestseller, to get a mention in the review columns of the major national newspapers and magazines. So I was thrilled on Saturday when The Hanging Wood was reviewed in the Times by Marcel Berlins.

And I was even more thrilled by the content of the review. When I say that the other three novelists covered were Mark Billingham, Ruth Rendell, and George Pelecanos, you can see what I mean about bestsellers. It's great company to be in, flattering in itself.

A fortnight ago I told the story of my first bad review. So I hope I can be forgiven, in my delight, for quoting this good review – especially as it raises a couple of wider issues that I'd like to cover in future posts.

"Martin Edwards writes the kind of whodunnits too often labelled, utterly unfairly, old-fashioned – because they do not contain meticulous descriptions of bloodshed, rampant psychopaths or emotionally tormented coppers. The Hanging Wood is the fifth in his Lake District series. A woman whose brother disappeared 20 years ago, when she was seven, tries to persuade the police that their uncle, generally believed to have killed him, is innocent. No one takes seriously. Two days after her final plea, she is found suffocated in a grain silo on her family's farm. Other deaths follow. The main police character, Hannah Scarlett, head of the cold cases section, is appealingly normal; killings take place off-stage; there are many suspects; characters are drawn with insight. A lovely read."

I'll talk about these issues of fashion in crime, and the depiction of violence, on another day. For the moment, I'm not only savouring this review, but getting on with my fiction at last after too long a gap because of day job commitments.

22 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Well done :-)! I'm very happy for you. And well deserved, too...

seana said...

Many congratulations, Martin. Savor the moment.

Pauline Rowson said...

Huge congratulations, Martin. That's fantastic news. I hope you see a big boost in sales as a result.

Bernadette said...

Congratualtions Martin, well deserved

Uriah Robinson said...

Martin-Well deserved praise for a superb series with great characters and setting. I am looking forward to reading this latest book.

Deb said...

If I wasn't already familiar with your work, I would definitely look for it after reading that review because it perfectly describes the type of mysteries I like best. I hope the review brings lots of new readers your way.

Christine said...

Congratulation! Well deserved. I hope your sales soar!

Ali Karim said...

EXCELLENT AND MARCEL IS A MAN OF TASTE!

Dorte H said...

Great news for your excellent book!

And when it comes to crime-fiction, I would regard the term ´old-fashioned´ as a compliment. I think it smacks of quality, and it would definitely make me want to read the book (if I hadn´t already).

Philip Amos said...

Heartiest congratulations to you, Martin. I look forward greatly to reading the book.

Karen (Euro Crime) said...

That's great news Martin and I hope many more people will now love your books, like we do.

Martin Edwards said...

Many, many thanks for your kind comments, which I appreciate just as much as a good review.

Paul Beech said...

Martin, a great review by Marcel Berlins, and the fact that so distinguished a critic has featured ‘The Hanging Wood’ is a sign, surely, that the tide is turning for you at last. I’m really pleased because your breakthrough into bestsellerdom will rarely have been better deserved. You’ve been producing exceptional crime fiction for such a long time. Your Lake District mysteries should be in every bookstore, ditto your Harry Devlins (‘Waterloo Sunset’ is immensely entertaining), ditto your standalones (‘Take My Breath Away’ did indeed take my breath away, as did ‘Dancing For The Hangman’). As for your anthologies and collection – yes, too right: we need short stories in the shops again! And isn’t it about time for a new Edwards collection?

I’m also really pleased that after all the recent demands of the day job, you’re back on with your creative work. I’m looking forward not only to Hannah and Daniel’s next outing but also to seeing how you develop your writing in the future as you have a most engaging and versatile talent. I expect – hope – there’ll be some bold departures from the tried-and-tested along the way…

Congratulations on the review, Martin, and very best wishes,

Paul

Fiona said...

Knowing I'm a great fan of yours, my sister brought the review with her when she came to stay yesterday. I had to say I'd already read it, but it was a delight to see the original too!

Miranda James said...

Congratulations, Martin, on such an excellent reveiw!

John said...

Congrats, Martin! (as we slangy Americans love to say) So long overdue. You mean to tell me that NONE of the Harry Devlin books were ever reviewed in a major UK newspaper? Hard to believe.

Spangle said...

Congratulations on your review! I believe that all reviews, including bad ones are good for a writer, because then at least it means that it draws attention to your book. From there, people can buy the book and make their own decisions on it.

On another note, I have been unable to find an e-mail to contact you, but I'm looking for guest bloggers to write about 5 books which have been influential in their personal or writing lives and was wondering if you would like to participate? If you are interested, could please you contact me on my e-mail theolivareader@gmail.com

Thanks!

Martin Edwards said...

Paul, very kind as always. There may be progress on the short story collection front before long, with luck!

Martin Edwards said...

Fiona, Miranda, many thanks.
John, yes, I have had a decent number of national newspaper reviews over the years, probably more for the early books than the more recent ones, but I'm always profoundly grateful for a positive response.
Spangle, thanks I will email you.

Richmonde said...

Looking forward to "fashions in crime". Current fashion: too long (padding), sex, violence, explosions, troubled cops, teenage hackers (or have the hackers grown up by now?)...

Minnie said...

Chapeau, Martin - au top! And why not celebrate the good reviews? Clearly, so many of us agree ... and those who write the bad ones? They simply don't know what they're missing!

Martin Edwards said...

Richmonde, well said!
Minnie, thanks.