Interview published by Publishers Weekly
In Gallows Court, Edwards captures the spirit of detective fiction’s golden age between the world wars.
PW: How did you come to write Gallows Court?
Martin Edwards: The real driver was my recent involvement in the revival of golden age fiction, as consultant to the British Library’s Crime Classics and author of The Golden Age of Murder. So it made sense to have a go at writing a novel set during the golden age. I wanted it to be a sort of homage, but not a pastiche. And, as a storyteller, I felt ready to take some chances. The catalyst was the character of Rachel Savernake—young, fabulously rich, and extraordinarily ruthless—who arrives in London in 1930 and involves herself in a sequence of bizarre murder mysteries.
PW: Which golden age author was the greatest influence on you?
ME: Dorothy Sayers and her colleagues in the Detection Club refused to allow thriller writers to join, because the literary standards of thrillers were deemed to be unsatisfactory. So I wanted to write a thriller that Dorothy might, however reluctantly, have approved.
PW: What aspects of golden age novels were most important to emulate?
ME: First, to make sure that the plot was as elaborate as in the best golden age mysteries, whilst maintaining a strong focus on character and seeking to evoke the period in an atmospheric and convincing way. Second, to play with golden age tropes, but in unorthodox fashion. In the first chapter, for instance, there’s a version of a locked room murder. In my book, the way the crime committed is not a puzzle for the reader to solve—we know exactly what has happened, but crucially, we don’t know why. So it’s a nod to a classic form of detective story, but I use the trope for my own purposes in telling the story of Rachel Savernake.
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