The Golden Age of Murder: Martin Edwards

The Golden Age of Murder: Martin Edwards

Within the pages of this book the reader will enter a world that most will never read or learn about. What would you do if you were in the same room as Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers? An elite group of British Mystery writers that created in 1930 the Detection Club. Ronald Knox, Arthur Morrison, Margaret Cole and Anthony Berkeley to name a few were instrumental and played an important role in creating this club. G.K. Chesteron was the first president. Dorothy L. Sayers set the done, decided on the regular dinner meetings which were used to help authors work together on the technical features of their specific pieces. A strict code of ethics and an oath of allegiance were created in order to allow readers to try and figure out you might say in simple words: Who did it? Thirty-nine men and women that was unique and extraordinary. The first club’s president was G.K. Chesteron and is currently being looked at for canonization by the Pope. The writers in this club were young, smart and who pretended at first to write according to set or prescribed rules. Learning about how these masters wrote was interesting and what kept me reading on until the very last page. Detective stories allow readers the pleasure as the author states at a time when “they feared the future.” Looking at Wall Street, the depression the fall of the stock market and the economy, the Roaring Twenties, these stories offered writers a venue to express their ideas and create outstanding whodunit novels. An oath was administered before a candidate was inducted: Do you promise that your detectives shall well and truly detect the crimes presented to them using those wits which it may please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance on nor making use of Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence, or Act of God? They have rules and in his introduction to an anthology of detective stories Ronald Knox expands. Although these were never meant to be more than guidelines the members adhered to them seriously.
Many of the members as you will learn had secrets that they wanted to remain hidden as did Dorothy L. Sayers. The author reveals what happened after her first novel was published and someone she referred to as the Beast who was married put her in a difficult situation. Without revealing his real name and learning more about him this person asked his wife to help him out of the situation he got himself into with Sayers. Arranging for Sayers to remain in their guesthouse and having the child she did not want anyone to know about, placing him with someone to care for him, solved her problem. Till the end of her life few knew about him and the child never knew she was his mother. Within the chapter titled Bitter Sin we also learn about the equal rights movement and its impact on women and writing. The chapter primarily focuses on Sayers her alliance with the Bensons working with them on different pieces and publishing Unnatural Death. Her character of Wimsey is quite popular and assisted by Miss Climpson and her uncover agency for single women. Earning money by writing short stories she drew on her own know-how for material. We also learn that Sayers was outstanding in marketing and the author shares the many ideas she used and shared with others when advertising her books.

A young woman is hanged and it left Anthony Berkeley appalled by her fate. The outcome showed that the British legal system was more fallible “than the general public fondly believed.” He loved hiding behind masks and one of his literary disguises, so successful that it caused a wild speculation in national press as well as in two novels by other writers. During this time period between World Wars British detective novels setting the standard for these types of novels really high. Many of these novels as the author relates were meant to be entertainment or even games where the reader and the author try to match wits or outwit each other. Readers were able to as even now to escape their natural worlds and find solace in trying to comprehend and deal with the social and political problems that seemed huge to the characters within these novels. Characters created by authors like Christie, Sayers and Berkeley and even Sherlock Holmes mysteries were not only entertaining and had great plots but the characters often resembled the authors and some even mirrored other writers.

The original members of the detection club included the following writers: G.K. Chesterton (first president), Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, Anthony Berkeley, Gladys Mitchell, Miles Burton/John Rhode, Freeman Wills Croft, and Father Ronald Knox.

The book centers around Sayers and Christie. Christie as the author relates lived in her imagination and love writing stories and poems. Believe it or not she loved listening in on other people’s conversations and often wrote based on what she overheard. Meeting Lieutenant Archie Christie and falling in love with him would hopefully bring fulfillment to her life. Creating Hercule Poirot, my favorite detective, vain but brilliant was just the start of many more novels to come.
Christie, Sayers and Berkeley might have been conservative in outlook but they caused a “peculiar amnesia to afflict the Golden Age.” Douglas and Margaret Cole were the leading lights of the Left “ among Golden age novelists.” Douglas was considered the pillar of the Labour Reseach department, His wife joined after teaching classics at a girl’s school. In 1926 Christie lost a husband and Sayers found one and Berkeley was thinking about a change of wife. Christie was unique and often disappeared for long periods of time.

The mysteries of this club were not easy to unravel. Agatha Christie’s cryptic messages of words when she “inscribed Murder in Mesopotamia, with love from one who may have done crimes unsuspected not detected.” What did she mean. Was she confessing to something or was she paying back Katherine Wooley the wife of archaeologist Leonard Wooley for treating her poorly or as the author says poisonously after marry Max Mallowan. She followed and copied the writing of Berkeley by taking revenge through for the novel’s background. She wrote about real incidents and real people and model her characters after other writers and people that she knew. Some of the characters were people in her life such as Nurse Amy Leatheran might remind us of Christie herself, Max might be the friendly Daivd Emmot.

Within the writing of detective stories the author sates that writers need to temper their detective or sleuthing instincts with realism when “reading between the lines of the novel.” When we think back to Christie’s disappearance did she create what happened herself? Was it to publicize her books? Students by her were common. She might have appeared fearless on the surface but underneath wracked by guilt and shame and often judged herself much harsher than others did. The Detection Club, created a forum for these writers to create what they knew best and work together. Berkeley was one of the first critics to sing the praises of another of my favorite writers P.D. James. No writing is perfect and the writing of the detective fiction of this time period of Golden Age was flawed. People wrote the stories and it does not take Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes to find examples in books of sexism, racism, prejudice and faults. Even works by the Coles had writing and plot lines that many might find offensive. The members of this club had vices, which were readily shown and displayed in their writing, and sometimes their work fell short as a result. From popular commercial fiction, wanting to write to please the public and their demands the trend was more difficult. Sayers, Christie and Berkeley were different and the best books from the writers of this club did more than just give them hours of pleasure.

As you read the many chapters, delve into the lives both public and private of each of the writers you the reader will learn much about the craft and art of writing the Detective or mystery novel from those many of us consider True Masters. Whether you read Christie, Sayers, Coles, Len Deighton, John Le Carre, and Sherlock Holmes. Lee Child, Edward Powyrs Mathers, or want to know more about the child that Sayers did not acknowledge, why she was such a force, Christie’s failed marriage and the rise of her career one thing will never change: in the words of Christie herself: “Wars may come and wars may go, but MURDER goes on forever.”

Fran Lewis: Just Reviews


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Cold Case: my thoughts

Cold Case: Sleeping Dogs Lie: Rebecka Vigus


Appearances can be deceiving and situations can be created to suit the best interests of those involved. Most domestic disturbances would not warrant having two detectives on the scene. Detectives Macy McVannel and Tom Maxwell her partner were called to investigate a victimless crime. Arriving at the scene they expect to see a body but instead deal with what they later learn was a staged shouting match in order to throw the attention off of them and onto another. When they return to the station they are given a cold case to work on and little do they know that this disturbance and this case would eventually intertwine. A 16- year- old murder was closed and went cold. The mother of the murder victim wants to find out who killed her son. Meeting with Mrs. Appleton, the mother of the homicide victim they begin to put together a chain of events but there are so many missing pieces that they need to look deeper into the person they think committed the murder. Delving into the case something odd happens when the captain insists that they investigate but in secret. Worried that they might be the target of someone whose identity has yet to be revealed Tom and Macy enlist the help of Mrs. Appleton to find a place to hide and investigate her son’s murder. But, not everything goes as planned as they hunker down in her bunkhouse and hear a noise. None other than the girl that was involved with her son, Sally Mae shows up and then things begin to change. But, what they learn from her seems to clinch what they suspect and the one person that was seen with Bobby James last, a kid named Bubba appears to be the prime suspect or the murderer. Looking into the murder they realize the case seemed tainted from the start and that the case was poorly handled. The author allows Macy to relate the events in the first person narrative giving readers her thoughts; the sequence of events and an up close account of what transpires. But, the links are few, the spaces in the events wide and the evidence slim as they begin to dig deeper and what happens next alerts them to the fact that someone might be targeting them but anyone that was involved in the case from the start or that new Bobby James.


Talking with Sally Mae helps but first another murder occurs that of Mike West closely intertwined with Bobby and Sally. Thinking that he was after his girl, egged on by Bubba he finds her in a bar and fight occurs. At the end someone he winds up dead but just who shot him still remains to be revealed. Hoping to learn more about the murder both Tom and Macy go in search of Mike West and learn that he is the next victim. Found by Mrs. Appleton and made to look that suicide things just don’t add up. When they learn who the detective on the case was and find out his relationship to Bubba who at this time seems to be missing too, Macy and Tom go to this man for answers. Files that are incomplete, interviews with witnesses missing and then two more murders occur both made to look like suicides.


As more information comes to light and we learn about the relationship between Bubba the prime suspect and the cop in charge of the case we begin to understand more. The relationship is one that comes to light later on, the partner of this cop seems embroiled within this deceitful web as well but all of the pieces have yet to be placed on the murder boards that both Macy and Tom have created. Getting to know the prime suspects, learning about their pasts the author reveals pieces of information that links them together.


Sally Mae becomes you might say part of their team as they decide to keep her with them for her safety. Allowing her to become part of the investigation, ask questions and type their notes I found kind of odd and really not quite sure if in a real investigation the police would allow a civilian in protective custody to bear witness to privileged information. Macy is a strong character and Tom faces many challenges when he has to leave his wife and family and go into hiding with Macy. His wife, although having no choice, is not really thrilled about the situation.


Macy at the start of the novel allows readers to understand why she chose this small town of Rivers Edge as her home, her disconnect with any family and her desire to start over in a small town. Not really into the social life, losing her fiancé in the line of duty, Macy is basically a loner and devotes her time and energy into solving her cases. Tom, a family man devoted to the same, has a strong work ethic, solid and analytical mind and seems to blend well with Macy.

When the investigation heats up and Bubba is now part of their team Sally Mae learns the real reason why they are protecting her and the hidden truth behind what they think happened. Deceit, lies, murder and betrayals are all part of the clever scheme of the murderer to make things appear one way in order to create an illusion for others. Trust is not always what it is cracked up to be and all too often the naïve and innocent pay. A wild kid with a hot head and a young girl just trying to live some kind of live what will the end result be and just what was the link between the cop on the case and another man?


Sharing their thoughts with Bubba and Sally Mae was definitely a unique way to handle the investigation. Explaining to both that Mike was planning to take Sally Mae away and marry her made him a prime target for the killer. Opening the case brought the spotlight on Macy and Tom because someone did not want the real murderer found. Relating the events to Mrs. Appleton did not bring the unusual response that most would give. Hoping to learn more and find out who killed her son the author relates through this mother the many unanswered questions most would have. Facing the man she thought murdered her son quite compelling. Then, the one man who was helping them is made a target and things become more unsettled. More truths unfold, a four- year old secret is revealed, the hidden dealings of two officers and a blackmail scheme that might have cost one his life as Macy and Tom being to unravel more than just these murders.


As they try to piece together the notes of the second murder victim they realize the reason he cooperated. But, honesty is supposed to cleanse the soul but not in this case. Why you just won’t believe. When the killer is caught and the evidence seems solid he’s confronted by the police and also by JJ or Bubba, which I found kind of out of character for a police investigation.  Added in the fact that the author allows one of the characters, not an officer to confront the killer and they go as far as to explain themselves to him seems a little out of place.


An ending that is quite interesting and a final outcome that you won’t expect with a killer who is relentless and whose actions cause Macy to fight for her life. But, sometimes out of something bad something good just might happen but that you will have to learn for yourself as will Macy. The case is finally solved, the many players are intertwined and the end result leaves you wondering what is next for Macy as the author entices readers with the first chapter of Crossing the Line to let us know that Macy and Tom will be back on the job real soon. Just what happens to Sally Mae, Mrs. Appleton and Bubba you have to find out for yourself. The mystery is well crafted the end result filled with twists and turns and the characters seem to blend together. When one killer wants Sleeping Dogs to Lie two cops decide to make sure they never do.


Fran Lewis: reviewer : this book gets four stars







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Interview with author Larry Sheridan

Welcome author Larry Sheridan. Larry’s outstanding novel Work in Progress has really soared on Amazon and rated one of the best novels written by a new author many times over. Read my interviewer with him, listen to my show from January 10th at four Eastern, get to know this great author and leave some comments and questions.


Fran Lewis: Interviewer


Why did you decide to write this novel?

I have always enjoyed writing and had tried in the past to start some things but never really focused on them or got what I started finished.  This time I had the story in my head and I began feeling that either I wrote it down, getting it out of my thoughts, or it was going to drive me crazy.  You see, I try and share the movie playing in my head.  That is the way the stories come to me.  I watch them and try to write down all the details for the reader.  I want the reader to see what I see, feel what I am feeling, tasting what I taste.  I also use a lot of inner monologue because I don’t want to tell you what the characters are thinking, I want you to hear their thoughts.  The arguments they are having with themselves in their minds.  If I can accomplish this then I feel that I have been successful in my efforts.


Summary of the novel

I think your review really got the summary of the story.


How did you develop your main character?

Well, it wasn’t as much that “I” developed “him” because, as I said, I was watching this movie in my mind play out.  As I got more and more of him on paper (or, actually in the computer) I saw that there were several things I liked about him.  There were also a lot of things I struggled with because I didn’t like them.  The characters in “Larry’s World” which is the world I create in my stories, develop in their own way.  I guess they sort of develop the way we all do.  They face their own challenges and hurdles:  at times they are successful and at times they fail.  This makes up the way the characters work to come to life.


Where and how did you come up with the storyline?

I’m not really sure how it happens.  I will get an idea and it begins to unfurl in my thoughts.  Kind of like I am watching a huge tapestry caught in the wind, the length of it billowing out.  Once the wind stretches the tapestry out it changes, turning from the tapestry into a film that I watch as it plays out in my thoughts.  I keep replaying this movie while I am working on putting the details of it onto paper.


What does Jeremy think happened to him and how does he wind up in the hospital?  I think Jeremy is still trying to figure out what happened to him at the end of the book.  Now, he is in the hospital two different times.  The first time he is trying to figure out if what he remembers is from some kind of twisted dream and the second time he is trying to reconcile the acts he has committed, almost as a denial to who he believed he actually was before all of these events began happening to him.


Why and how does his wife Cassie become involved?

We, the readers, are left to decide whether we believe she has always had some involvement in all this or if that is just too farfetched to accept.  I wanted to leave that part open and come back to it in a future story line.  Not sure if it will be in the second book but I kind of doubt it.  It is an issue that will be addressed at some point along the way though.  I think it is important, I’m just not ready myself to make that decision.


Who is Tish and what is her function?  Tish is the dream employee or assistant who seems too good to be true.  You know the old saying, right?  If something seems too good to be true it usually is.  Well, Tish fits that statement well.  It is a statement that I think speaks volumes.  All Tish is doing is personifying the cliché.


Why does she appear to be the perfect assistant?  She frees Jeremy up to focus on the areas of his work he is good at and takes care of those areas he is weak in.  This, in my opinion, is the perfect assistant.  It is that person who understands your nuances and takes the jobs off of you which slow you down.  The jobs you are encumbered with and by.  When this is done, efficiencies occur and success can be more easily obtained.


How does she pretend to be invaluable and what is her motive?  I don’t think she is actually pretending to be invaluable to Jeremy.  I think that over the past few years she has proven her worth to him and he has become so dependent upon her that she is able to manipulate him.  In a way Jeremy has become her puppet and she has become his puppeteer.  Just because she has other plans and ulterior motives doesn’t mean she is not invaluable to him.  I wanted to bring in real life situations and I think the people we rely on the most, the one’s we’ve given the majority of our trust to are the ones who can cause the most damage.  In one sense this is a form of humanity’s fatal flaw.


What presentation is Jeremy making and for what reason?  He has become a very high stakes advisor.  Though this is a larger pool he is presenting to it is not totally out of the ordinary for him to make this presentation.  The room represents his battlefield, or what he knew to be his battlefield though that does change later in the story.  The reason he is making the presentation is that this is part of his normal course of business.  I wanted to show the reader that Jeremy was good at what he does and instead of telling you, the reader, that I made the conscious decision to offer a glimpse into his knowledge.


How does he know that he needs to switch gears in order to keep the interest of those he’s presenting his information to?  Because when you are as successful and good at what you do as Jeremy Jackson is then you read the body language of the room.  You feel the thoughts surrounding you and you respond to them.  It becomes more of an art form than it is an actual presentation.


What are his major strong points?

I think that he, like a lot of us, has some qualities which are rough or difficult to see.  My goal with him is to show him as seemingly very polished and finished, like a fine diamond of sorts.  Then, as we progress through the story we question certain things about him.  You know, is he really as polished as we thought he was?  Is he as successful as we thought he was, or as he himself thought he was?  And I want to take some of those qualities and scuff them up a bit.  Often times, we as individuals try to show the world our finished “self” – kind of like when we tell our kids to be on their best behavior.  But, as someone gets to know us better, we let them into the various inner worlds of ours and they see not only our beauty marks but also our warts too.  I think we are all like that in one way or another.  But, with Jeremy Jackson, I think his best qualities are that he has a lot of integrity, is a very hard worker, loves his family and is faithful to them.


How do things change when he gets to know John?

John is the no-nonsense character in the story.  He is who you see.  Sometimes he is scary and sometimes he seems almost kind but we never really know.  I like that about John.  He is warm and friendly but if you cross him he can take your head off and just might do it.  Jeremy finds there are many things in his own life he has no control of anymore and so has to play someone else’s game.  This is challenging for Jeremy, especially when you think about where he starts the story from.


What is John’s real story and how does he fit into the events that occur?  John is someone you are still trying to figure out…maybe even decide if you like him or not…at the end of the story.  John’s character is still being developed in the second installment and you won’t really “get” him until book #3 I think.  I like the options with John and feel there are a lot of them, so I’m having fun playing around with him.


Who is this women he meets and how does she get Jeremy to take the wrong meds?  Well, she is an attractive woman but the drugs Jeremy is subjected to make everything more intense for him and that is how she gets him off balance.  She slipped him something on the plane and then, due to his sleeping, she is able to change his medication.  He doesn’t even realize they’ve done this.  I know how easy this is to do, as far as get things mixed up.  I am ADD and so I take my medication every day.  Sometimes I’m not sure if I have taken it and sometimes I can even get confused about the meds I am taking.  I think, with the addition of the drugs, this is not a really big stretch to accomplish.


What is the end result when he realizes who and what she is and has done?

Well, once he realizes what she has done to him, with the video and the other women, his world is destroyed and he has very little to live for.  This may be a scene which seems a bit melodramatic but I believe when we have our perception of reality ripped away from us it can be and often times is extremely painful.


What happens to his family and why does Cassie appear to be working for the wrong side?  Well, as far as this story goes his family becomes the leverage they (the bad guys) feel they have over him.  I am still developing whether or not Cassie is on the other side or if they have something on her to make her go along with them.  Its an additional way to sort of string Jeremy along.


Why does he want to fire Tish and why can’t he?  Once he realizes she has taken control of his business and is setting up a huge money laundering scheme he wants to fire her.  The problem for him is that he is looking like it is him that has set the whole deal up and Tish has positioned herself as innocent.  She is in the perfect role of his “trusted” assistant while able to really make him look like he is blatantly breaking all of the rules.  She has done trades for him without his knowledge but since he has final control he will be responsible for not knowing what she was up to.  In this business, though Tish works for him there are many levels of oversight and he can’t just fire her.  He has to follow various procedures and protocol to address the issues relating to her.  By the time he does it is too late and his career is probably over even if he manages to stay alive and out of jail.


What part does Ross play and why do they want him to take the money and keep quiet?  Ross plays both sides of the fence.  He is undercover where he is working for the group that Tish is going after.  His original loyalties are with John Stephens so Ross has a lot of complexities surrounding him.


What is the company?  It is an agency within the US Government.  It is much more clandestine than the CIA and very few people in power even know about it.  This group has been around for a very long time, has secrets on everyone thus insuring they will continue to be around for a very long time.


Will you bring Jeremy back again?  Yes.  Absolutely.  Jeremy is central to this series.


What is his fate?  I don’t know yet.  He is just know becoming A Work in Progress.


Why did you decide to become an author and write a murder/mystery?  There are some days I ask myself the same question!  Just kidding…kind of.  I enjoy writing and I enjoy telling a good story.  They just fell into place for me.  There weren’t a lot of options, really.  I knew no one would be interested in an autobiography so that was out of the question and the story was in my mind so it just made sense.


How do you promote your work and how are sales for your book?  A lot of word of mouth, I have a blog where I try and write something every 4 – 6 weeks and build up a following there, Twitter, Facebook, blog interviews and radio shows, and book signings.  If there is anything else you can think of please let me know.  Sales have been good at times and slow at times.  It seems that they have been fairly steady.  People who have started some businesses using the internet to get interest have  told me my numbers are great but I would obviously like them to be a lot better.  At one point my book had reached #5 in the Top Rated Murder/Mystery category as well as Action/Adventure on Amazon.  Then, for whatever reason, amazon began deleting several of my best reviews and now I am back in the 30’s or 40’s.


What is you next project?  I just finished up a collection of short stories called Five of Five a collection of five short stories for the Kindle and am about to release Five of Five a collection of five short stories plus a couple extra which will be released on Kindle, print and on Smashwords.  I am working on the next book in the series which will begin with the same event as A Work in Progress did so that will be cool to finish.  I got about 35% through then realized I didn’t like where it was going so I am reworking it.


What other things have you written?  As I mentioned before, the collection of short stories and lots of checks!!


What about your short stories?  Yes – they are fun to write because you get to change them around and have a lot more variety.  I enjoyed them as they were a bit of a challenge because you have to tighten everything up and can’t go into a lot of detail.  That is actually what I enjoy about the novel, the amount of detail I can work with.


Where do you see you career going?  I don’t know.  Right now I am enjoying what I am doing and if the road I’m on takes me someplace else then so be it.


What are your websites?

Twitter – @AboutmybooksLS




Purchase Links:




October 5th

Hi there everyone! I would like to tell everyone about how important it is to monitor what you post and write on many of the social networking sites. As someone who was a victim of bullying when I was younger I know how devastating it can be. Many kids who have poor or low self-esteem are prime targets for these other kids or even adults who take pride and pleasure in harassing them and hurting them because they are disabled, overweight or from a different country. There are many ways to combat being harassed and there are many things you can do to avoid being a victim of cyberspace bullying.

Be aware of who you friend on any site.

Do not friend someone just to gain more friends and have large numbers

Make sure that your webcam is off when you are online unless you are speaking to a friend

Check your face book or my space account daily and make sure that there are no posts that you did not accept or authorize- delete as I do anything you do not want on your wall.

Make sure you google yourself to know if anything else about you is out there. You would be amazed

Bullying is serious and wrong and needs to be stopped.

september 28, 2010

Tillieand Mertle would like to welcome you to Fran’s daily thoughts and Pics. Today I read and reviewed two great book by two great authors. Tracey Frishkorn’s book Strings of Deception is a great read. Master Your Sleep by Dr. Tracey Marks is an excellent resource for anyone who is having trouble sleeping. Read my reviews on to learn more.

I have also read and reviewed How to Spot Lies like the FBI and Cracks in the Rainbow by Mark Bouton.

Bertha’s revenge is in the works and should be out I hope by January of next year. It is my fourth children’s book.

Looking to my October 20th show with two great authors: Mary Miller One Small Victory and Linda Spear I Know You By Heart.

Read my reviews on Amazon and listen to the show to learn more.

Today’s thought: How can new authors market their books by themselves and how can radio show hosts on blog talk radio get more listeners.

Talk to you tomorrow with two more great pics and fran’s thoughts.