The Golden Age of Murder
by Martin Edwards
on Tour April 28 – May 31, 2015
Genre: Biography, Mystery, Classic Crime
Published by: HarperCollins
Publication Date: May 7th 2015
Number of Pages: 512
ISBN: 0008105960 (ISBN13: 9780008105969)
A real-life detective story, investigating how Agatha Christie and colleagues in a mysterious literary club transformed crime fiction, writing books casting new light on unsolved murders whilst hiding clues to their authors’ darkest secrets.
This is the first book about the Detection Club, the world’s most famous and most mysterious social network of crime writers. Drawing on years of in-depth research, it reveals the astonishing story of how members such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers reinvented detective fiction.
Detective stories from the so-called “Golden Age” between the wars are often dismissed as cosily conventional. Nothing could be further from the truth: some explore forensic pathology and shocking serial murders, others delve into police brutality and miscarriages of justice; occasionally the innocent are hanged, or murderers get away scot-free. Their authors faced up to the Slump and the rise of Hitler during years of economic misery and political upheaval, and wrote books agonising over guilt and innocence, good and evil, and explored whether killing a fellow human being was ever justified. Though the stories included no graphic sex scenes, sexual passions of all kinds seethed just beneath the surface.
Attracting feminists, gay and lesbian writers, Socialists and Marxist sympathisers, the Detection Club authors were young, ambitious and at the cutting edge of popular culture – some had sex lives as bizarre as their mystery plots. Fascinated by real life crimes, they cracked unsolved cases and threw down challenges to Scotland Yard, using their fiction to take revenge on people who hurt them, to conduct covert relationships, and even as an outlet for homicidal fantasy. Their books anticipated not only CSI, Jack Reacher and Gone Girl, but also Lord of the Flies. The Club occupies a unique place in Britain’s cultural history, and its influence on storytelling in fiction, film and television throughout the world continues to this day.
The Golden Age of Murder rewrites the story of crime fiction with unique authority, transforming our understanding of detective stories and the brilliant but tormented men and women who wrote them.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with The Golden Age of Murder, but I was pretty sure I was going to like it, given the subject matter. Indeed I did. I’m not sure what it is about this book that had me so intrigued — the time period, the “actors” involved, the aspect of crime fiction, the aspect of writing in general, or the history being told — but it had me from the first page.
Throughout this book, I felt like I was peeking into a journal or someone’s private papers. I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty that I was invading the secrecy and privacy of these authors who have given readers such a wonderful, compelling, enthralling genre. Their contributions paved the way for today’s storytellers, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
But I’m also grateful to Martin Edwards for sharing the story of the Detection Club and its members. This book provides a lot of information, so it’s not a breezy read. But if any aspect of this book is calling your name, you won’t be disappointed. Martin Edwards delivers, and delivers big in The Golden Age of Murder. Edwards has done an extraordinary job in telling a rich, detailed history of this fascinating brotherhood of crime writers.
Martin Edwards was educated in Northwich and at Balliol College, Oxford University, taking a first class honours degree in law. He trained as a solicitor in Leeds and moved to Liverpool on qualifying in 1980. He published his first legal article at the age of 25 and become a partner in the firm of Mace and Jones in 1984.
He is married to Helena with two children (Jonathan and Catherine) and lives in Lymm. Martin is a member of the Murder Squad collective of crime writers, and is chairman of the nominations sub-committee for the CWA Diamond Dagger (crime writing’s most prestigious award). In 2007 he was appointed the Archivist of the Crime Writers Association.
This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Martin Edwards & Harper Collins. There will be one U.S. winner of a physical copy of The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards. The giveaway ends June 3, 2015.
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