Mortmain Hall reviews

‘Martin Edwards is the author of many crime novels, an expert in the genre. His latest series, set in the Golden Age, is an ingenious modern “take” on the classic whodunit…it’s a winning formula…A whole page would not give me space to discuss the intricacy of this story. A tangle of satisfying clues and a pleasing denouement in the classic Christie manner.’

A.N. Wilson, The Tablet

‘A classic whodunit’

The Daily Express Saturday Magazine

‘The multi-award-winning Edwards launched a distinctly sparky female detective, Rachel Savernake, daughter of an Old Bailey judge, in his last book and here she reappears in even more spectacular form…an old-fashioned mystery with a string of very modern twists, making Ms Savernake a Miss Marple for the 21st century.’

Geoffrey Wansell, Daily Mail

‘A triumph, from its tantalising opening, in which an unnamed dying man begins to explain an unspecified perfect crime, through its scrupulously fair final reveal…The labyrinthine plot leads to a logical explanation…Edwards…impressively channels Agatha Christie.’

Publishers’ Weekly (starred review)

‘With amateur sleuths, lecherous stockings salesmen and birdwatchers with hidden agendas, this affectionate homage to Golden Age crime fiction packs in so many well-worn tropes that it is a book to make you smile rather than bite your nails in suspense. However, Edwards maintains a cracking pace and only the smartest readers will anticipate the denouement. As elegant period escapism, it ticks all the boxes.’

Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday

‘Martin Edwards is a guru of the interwar Golden Age of crime novels, and his work pays homage to the intricate puppetry and byzantine plotting popular in the period. Sometimes the pastiche veers towards parody…but it’s all good…fun.’

Mark Sanderson, The Times

‘Edwards has created some marvellous characters in these books which carry a real flavour of the Golden Age of crime fiction. There’s even the traditional list of clues at the end so puzzled readers can see how many they missed.’

Mat Coward, Morning Star

‘A rattling detective yarn…Edwards is a master of the Golden Age crime novel.’

Saga Magazine

‘The plot thickens, tightens, twists. We have Gothic moments in private zoos, remote castles and a storm that outdoes any Hardy-esque pathetic fallacy – they combine in a Grand Guignol of a murder mystery. It ought not to work…but it does, triumphantly, in the hands of such a fine crime writer as Martin Edwards.

It arrived in my hands just as lock-down started; if self-isolation is extended, make sure you get your hands on a copy too. And if suddenly we are free to roam – well, get your hands on it anyway.’

Judith Cutler, Shots

‘With meticulous and detailed research, scratch-them-and-they-bleed characterisation and locations you can smell and touch, Edwards has added his own unique style to a format beloved of Golden Age fans. The result is quite different from the contemporary Lake District series his readers may find more familiar, but nevertheless a masterclass. 

Mortmain Hall is the second novel featuring Rachel Savernake and Jacob Flint. They make a formidable team…and are set fair to add a whole new dimension, not to mention a new contingent of readers, to a sub-genre which already has plenty of aficionados.’ 

Lynne Patrick, Mystery People

‘Fantastic…richly detailed with vintage glamour and an intricate puzzle to solve, Mortmain Hall is a supremely gripping and clever mystery with intriguing characters and twists and turns aplenty.’ 

Bookshelf Butterfly

Mortmain Hall has to be one of the best mystery books I have read – an ingenious plot wrapped in dark humour and deceitful characters, it grips you from the start and could easily have been written alongside the many great novels during the golden age of crime fiction. And there is also a ‘Cluefinder’ section at the end of the novel, which is a nice homage to the early detective novels.’

Vincent’s Bookcase

Mortmain Hall is a very clever book because absolutely anyone can enjoy it – there’s a great mystery, a fast-moving and involving plot, and some wonderful setpieces such as the dinner-party above, part of that other favourite, a proper houseparty with interesting servants, pointed conversations, icy disagreements, and (of course) crime upcoming… The clues and the plotting are superb – Martin is a fairplay king, and at the end of the book tells you where all the clues were hidden, as in the old-time cluefinder, a tradition he is single-handedly reviving… another triumph for Martin, and a very enjoyable book for the rest of us. We look forward to the third instalment of Rachel Savernake’s adventures…’

Clothes in Books blog

‘Beautifully written with a real sense of time and place, this is a twisty, glamourous and thoroughly entertaining classic whodunnit. A marvellously fun read.’

Bookwormery blog

‘Full of golden age references for aficionados to enjoy – a hanging judge, a stocking salesman – and there’s an air of fun about the book along with meticulous research and a killer protagonist.’

Sarah Ward, Crimepieces

‘I loved the vivid characters and gorgeous setting of Mortmain Hall. The story has a really interesting cast of characters and offers multiple points of view to allow you to get to know the different characters and their motivations. I really liked our main protagonist Rachel, she’s a well fleshed out and complex character and I enjoyed seeing her attempt to unravel the mystery…Full to the brim with atmosphere and mystery. It very much gave me Agatha Christie vibes and had plenty of surprise twists that I didn’t see coming. I really enjoyed Edwards’ writing style, the story is beautifully told and definitely makes you want to turn pages faster and faster to find out how it’s going to end…an exciting tale of suspense, that will have you up past bedtime reading. If you’re a fan of historical crime fiction, Mortmain Hall is a must read.’

The Bibliophile Chronicles

‘I love immersing myself in a fabulous historical read and this is set in one of my favourite eras and it is wonderful to be in such safe hands. Martin Edwards is the King of Golden age murder mysteries…and he has also written his very own Lake District Cold-Case Mysteries which you’ll absolutely love.

Because of his level of expertise, you feel like you can totally surrender to this reading experience and spend a few days in a totally different world!  I really felt like I could imagine this vividly painted world and found it very difficult to detach myself from this immersive reading experience that allowed me to plunge back in time and re-live this era for myself…

The realistic characters and their situations in this exciting and fast-paced read allowed me to travel back in time with them through its pages.  I really loved the way that Martin Edwards draws the reader in and keeps them connected with the twists and turns that beset Rachel Savernake as we see the way that choices were far more limited in that era and it is so easy to imagine why things were so uncertain and dangerous for so many women in this era. The way that all of these characters’ stories interconnect and collide with one another was one of my favourite things about this book and it certainly does a fine job of not allowing you to put it down as it gives you a solid case of ‘one more chapter’

This was the perfect Lockdown read for me – and if you’re isolating and feel like everything is too much fir you and you just want an escape from it all –  then this would be a perfect book to lose yourself in , it’s so immersive!  Fans of  Golden Age novels will also have hours of entertainment reading Mortmain Hall, as Martin includes a web of allusions to other famous reads from this period. It’s a great challenge when you are re-reading it (as I’m sure you will ) to see how many you can spot.

If you love an epic read, with a real insight into another era with memorable and fascinating characters and a plot that will draw you in and keep you gripped then you’ll really love Mortmain Hall.

On the Shelf Books blog

‘This novel is a very clever treatment of many of the themes familiar to readers of Golden Age Detection. A determined investigator, an element of personal danger, some death defying situations all go together to create a convincing novel that builds up suspense and maintains it. Many of the recognised ingredients of a successful detective novel are here, mixed in with a memorable investigator, her supporters and associate. I really enjoyed this novel, finding a fascinating mystery in a setting which is a detailed appreciation of the era. The seedy parts of London, the clubs of the moderately wealthy, the personalities associated with the legal system, newspapers and far more all spring to life in Edwards’ excellent book. I thoroughly recommend this book as a marvellous tribute to the tradition of detective writing, and a fascinating read in its own right.’   

Northern Reader blog

‘Martin Edwards takes the unusual approach of scattering crime stories throughout the first few chapters and pulling the threads together to create a wonderful web of a finale. Instead of the classic trope where all the suspects of one crime are drawn together at the end, he expands on that idea, giving the reader even more to sink their teeth into and making it even harder to predict.

If you’re a fan of classic mystery writers like Ruth Rendell and Georgette Heyer, you’ll adore Mortmain Hall. With its classic Golden Age style and a boost of extra twists, it’s sure to keep readers gripped until the final pages.

Keep reading after these final pages and you’ll discover the Cluefinder. This is a great addition to the book where Martin reveals all the hints to the big reveal that he’s dropped throughout the novel.’

The Tattooed Book blog

Mortmain Hall delivered on the enchanting promise of the premise through clear writing, intriguing plot moments, memorable scenes and thoroughly engaging characters…I just simply fell in love with this book. The extensive possibilities, intricate plotting and connections lead by two engaging characters all kept me hooked until the very last page.’

Vicky Lord Reviews

‘A great book…great escapism…I loved the writing style of Mortmain Hall which had a Gothic feel to it and reflected the era of Britain in the 1930s. The story was told through multiple character’s viewpoints which I loved. Each character was well developed and had a story line of their own. When the characters finally came together all the pieces of the puzzle slowly unravelled, which was very in-keeping with other Golden Age Gothic mysteries.’ 

The Book Cosy Review

‘An intricately and deceptively crafted plot., The spider web like nature of the plot fuels this delightful misgiving as the narrative threads don’t conform to a predictable pattern or shape. There is no big or central crime to focus on in the book straight away. Instead there is a series of mysterious circumstances, echoes of cold cases and violent eruptions in the presence. Nevertheless, the aim, for the reader, is to figure out the end game of the principal players – antiheroic sleuth included…Martin’s approach is enjoyably distinctive in the way it tackles the theme of the perfect crime…even Captain Hastings could surmise, based on my review, that this is a book I strongly recommend readers to buy pronto!’ 

Cross-Examining Crime

‘Extremely cleverly written it entwines different stories and possible crimes, from all the characters in the story and weaves them together to produce a wonderful thriller read. With rich, ruthless and totally untrustable characters, they jump off the page with their superb characterisation.  Secrets, court rooms and stories headlining all the newspapers, it really is a golden age feel thriller. This is the second book in the Rachel Savernake series, with Gallow’s Court being the first, but it can certainly be read as a stand alone novel…I really enjoyed this novel. It had the wonderful feel of a Golden Age crime novel with its social and period setting, but also read like a thriller with the action that takes place. A recommended read!’

Babbage and Sweetcorn blog

‘The book is completely fascinating and I just couldn’t put it down. Rachel is a phenomenal woman who is headstrong and is a match for any man of the time period. She is exceptionally wise, ruthless, and quite scary to some.

I love historical detective books and this is up there with the best. The plot draws you in and has you trying to analyse everything that is happening and wondering how they are all joined together and the writing is sublime. I was completely gripped from the opening chapter to the last. If you love sleuth books then this is a must-read.’

Whispering Stories blog

‘A wonderful Golden Age mystery, a modern spin on the traditional whodunnit, packed with twists and cliffhangers and ending with a denoument that is sure to surprise. This is brilliant writing with some extremely memorable and sometimes disturbing scenes…

Edwards has clearly done a lot of research and the 1930’s settings are perfectly recreated – the London private station of the Necropolis Company, the interior of the crumbling Mortmain Hall in Yorkshire, the deliciously seedy Clandestine Club are accurate in every detail.  Court procedures, manners, morals and speech are faultlessly recreated without a single jarring note.

This wonderful evocation of a bygone age would make Mortmain Hall worth reading on its own but when you combine it with a cracking story and original and engaging characters, you’ve got a real winner.’


‘A very enjoyable read, clever and a bit twisted, much like my favourite crime novels from the Golden Age (I love a classic crime novel), the period setting adding authenticity and the denouement taking place in a Gothic pile literally on the edge of a cliff is very pleasing.’

Ramblingmads blog

‘A skilful mixture of classic and modern giallo, with a fast rhythm and varied material, Mortmain Hall promises to be an extraordinary novel. After all, I wouldn’t have expected anything less from the President of the Detection Club. If even in Italy some publishers realized how intriguing these books are, I am sure that it would be a joy for all readers who are passionate about mystery novels; who knows if a translation will come sooner or later.’

Three-a-Penny blog (Italy)

Mortmain Hall is an incredibly interesting and well thought out mystery book. Edwards’ writing is solid all the way through. The characters are engaging. I enjoyed the reveal at the end.’

Kerry Baptiste’s blog

‘Intricate, clever and inventive, Mortmain Hall really does have the feel of a Golden Age detective novel.  Martin Edwards has really embraced the writing style of the era which results in a very authentic read…I loved the Cluefinder list at the end, listing 30 clues to the plot that were hidden within the narrative of the book.  I’m a really poor detective as I didn’t pick up on any of them but I have to applaud Martin Edwards’ inventiveness in hiding these clues in the book.  It was very eye-opening to read them at the end to see what I’d missed and it was a fine way to pay homage to detective novels of the Golden Age.’

The Book Magnet blog

‘There are a lot of things that go into making these books work so well, one being that they are very much an homage to Golden Age fiction, full of references and jokes…Mortmain Hall delivers something deliciously twisty, with plenty of red herrings and sub plots along the way, followed by a satisfactory conclusion. It works perfectly well as a stand-alone.. For anybody with a deeper interest in the period there is a treasure trove of reference to puzzle out.’

Desperate Reader

‘What a charming novel this is. A murder mystery novel worthy of timeless old detective stories, along the lines of Agatha Christie… A cleverly constructed plot that simmers along nicely, adding clues along the way, before bubbling to its conclusion.’ 

Hayley’s Book Room

‘Martin Edwards sets the scene of journalists and the golden age beautifully. I especially enjoyed the parts that deal with capital punishment within this book which was fascinating to read about. Mortmain Hall is a great mystery book and I certainly will be reading more now. The characters were all absolutely fascinating to read about and learn more. I cannot say too much as I will ruin the book for you. The clue finder extra at the end of the book was especially nice to see.’

Confessions of a Bookworm

‘One of the many things I like about Edwards’ Rachel Savernake series is that they’re exceptionally well crafted homages to golden age crime, not pastiches, and as such there’s no shortage of references for the reader to decode if they feel moved to.’

The Desperate Reader – Booze and Books

‘This story very delicately interweaves all of its clues within its large group of characters, and the outcome was ultimately pretty difficult for me to guess! And if you’re stuck after the reveal, a cluefinder is included at the end to help you re-trace your steps in reading.’

Julie Anna’s Books blog