Wednesday, April 5, 2017

All the Lonely People: Martin Edwards

All the Lonely People was Martin Edward's debut crime novel, set in Liverpool and published in 1991. All the titles in the series of eight books are taken from hit songs in the 1960s.

Harry Devlin is a lawyer whose estranged wife, Liz, returns to his apartment for a short stay. She needs a place to stay for a few days because she is afraid of the man she has been living with for two years. She hints at a new lover but won't name him. Later she is found dead in an alley and Harry is the obvious suspect.

Harry is still besotted with Liz. When she shows up in his apartment, he has brief fantasies of getting back with her.
He drank in the sight of her. The black hair—in the past never less than shoulder-length—was now cut fashionably short . Nothing else about her had changed:  not the lavish use of mascara, nor the mischief lurking in her dark green eyes. All she wore was a pair of Levis and a tee shirt of his that she must have found in the bedroom. She had tossed her jersey and boots on to the floor. On the table by her side stood a tumbler and a half-empty bottle of Johnnie Walker.
This book is a great introduction to Harry Devlin. The reader follows along as he searches for the truth behind his wife's death and discovers some unsavory facts about her. His investigations take him into the seedier neighborhoods in Liverpool. Harry may not be the best person to follow up on Liz's murder; he clearly wants to prove that the murderer is the man who Liz left him for, Mick Coghlan. Along the way he does come up with other suspects but is loath to let go of his suspicions of Coghlan.

The story has good pacing, with a straightforward plot. I loved getting to know Harry, who isn't perfect, but is a nice guy with no overwhelming flaws. Harry's partner Jim Crusoe is another well developed character, who cares for Harry and has never been susceptible to Liz's charms. I did not come close to guessing who the culprit was and the ending surprised me. I look forward to reading more books about this character.

See more reviews at In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel and Chess, Comics, Crosswords, Books, Music, Cinema

Check out Patti Abbott's Friday's Forgotten Books post at Pattinase this Friday. Martin Edwards is definitely not a forgotten author, but he is better known for his latest series set in the Lake District. He has also  edited many anthologies of short stories, both by Golden Age authors and contemporary authors and written a notable mystery reference book, The Golden Age of Murder, which has won many awards.

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Publisher:  Arcturus Publishing, 2012 (orig. publ. 1991)
Length:     255 pages
Format:    Trade paperback
Series:     Harry Devlin #1
Setting:    UK
Genre:     Mystery
Source:    I purchased my copy


16 comments:

  1. I have some of the later Lake District books nut not tries the Devlin series at all. I have a lot of time for books with strong characters that you can relate to, especially if they are not bogged down with some operatic trauma in their past! I must read more of Martin's excellent books!

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    1. I have read the first book in each of the series, Sergio, and I hope to continue with both of them. I am very tired of protagonists with too much trauma and angst in their lives, and I could identify with Devlin's feelings in this one.

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  2. This is a good series, isn't it, Tracy? I very much like the Harry Devlin character, and I think Martin Edwards does a fantastic job with setting the scene and context, too. Glad you liked this one.

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    1. I agree, Margot. I was re-reading bits of the novel and thinking how well Edwards depicted Liverpool and that I had not covered that enough in my comments on the book. Not that I know Liverpool, but he convinced me.

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  3. Another new to me writer - must take a look! You sold me on "straight forward story and good pacing." Not sure when I'll tackle these interesting writers you've read on your blog. I'm currently doing a buddy read on a Stephen King novel, that's 1600 pages long, called The Stand, so I won't be reading anything new for a month or two.-Keishon

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    1. There is at least one long Stephen King book I would like to read, Keishon, titled 11/22/63, but don't know if will ever do it. I did read Under the Dome, which was very long but a very very good read.

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    2. I started 11/22/63 but stopped around chapter four or five. Got a bit bored but will come back to it later. I plan to read more of these longer novels like Shogun and a few others. If the story's good, the page count doesn't matter and The Stand so far is excellent. Barely putting a dent into it, too, at chapter 30. --Keishon

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    3. That is good to know, Keishon. I hope I get to try it one day. I agree, if a book is really good, then length is good. I often find that a long book doesn't sustain the quality the whole way through, though.

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  4. Liverpool is my home town, and I love to read crime stories set there. Martin really knows the place and does a good job portraying the city in this series.

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    1. That is good to hear, Moira. I think I like this series so much partly because of the setting. His other series has a more rural(?) setting which appealed less to me, but I do need to go back and read more of those too.

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  5. Haven't read anything by Martin Edwards, Tracy, except the occasional FFB blogpost. Now I'm thinking hmmmmmmmmm...

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    1. You should try one of his mysteries, Mathew. The other series features Daniel Kind, a historian, and DCI Hannah Scarlett.

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  6. Tracy, thank you very much for mentioning my review of Martin's book. I agree, it is a terrific introduction to Harry Devlin. I felt for the character. And I must remember to read other titles in the series.

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    1. I hope to read more of these also, Prashant, but copies are not that easy to find here.

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  7. I might have this one or one of the others in the tubs, but needless to say I haven't got there yet.

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    1. I think you might like it (or one of others) if you get to it, Col. I am beginning to worry about all the books in my tubs and on my shelves, I may never get to them all.

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