Posts 2017 · Reviews · Reviews 2017

Review – ‘The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books’ by Martin Edwards


I’m on the blog tour for ‘The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books’ on Thursday and wanted to share my review beforehand so here it is!



The main aim of detective stories is to entertain, but the best cast a light on human behaviour, and display both literary ambition and accomplishment. Even unpretentious detective stories, written for unashamedly commercial reasons, can give us clues to the past, and give us insight into a long-vanished world that, for all its imperfections, continues to fascinate. This book, written by award-winning crime writer and president of the Detection Club, Martin Edwards, serves as a companion to the British Library’s internationally acclaimed series of Crime Classics. Long-forgotten stories republished in the series have won a devoted new readership, with several titles entering the bestseller charts and sales outstripping those of highly acclaimed contemporary thrillers.



‘The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books’ is a fascinating, insightful and knowledgeable look at the history of classic crime. Martin Edwards has brought together a comprehensive selection of books illustrating how classic crime evolved, how it started, the main influencers and the writing trends.

This is a must for the shelf of any classic crime lover – although one word of warning, it will easily double your books-I-must-read list! I now have a lovely little list compiled after reading this book that will keep me going for some time. Oh well, you can never have too many books!

This is a companion to The British Library Crime Classics series, whilst it does detail a few books in the series don’t expect all the books listed to be Crime Classics. This is a happy blend of the famous and the overlooked novels of the Golden Age period. Books that have sold in the thousands sit comfortably among the underdogs, both providing an important part of classic crime fiction.

I had expected this to take me awhile to get through as I don’t read a lot of non-fiction and when I do they take me awhile to read, but I happily whizzed through this. Each chapter of the book looks at a different aspect of classic crime and my favourite chapters have to be – ‘Murder at the Manor’, ‘Resorting to Murder’, ‘Inverted Mysteries’ and ‘The Great Detectives’. These were the chapters to blame for most of my new must-reads.

An intriguing and entertaining read.





Martin Edwards is an award-winning crime writer best known for two series of crime novels set in Liverpool and the Lake District. He is series consultant for the British Library Crime Classics and editor of six previous anthologies in the series as well as being Chair of the Crime Writers Association and President of the Detection Club. ‘The Golden Age of Murder’, his study of the Detection Club has won several awards.


‘The Story of Classic Crime’ is published in hardback on the 6th of July by the British Library. With thanks to Abbie at The British Library for my review copy.


Story of Classic Crime


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