There are only 3 weeks left until Christmas and 3 weeks left of 'Chapters In My Life'!
This week, crime writer and blogger of 'Do You Write Under Your Own Name?' Martin Edwards is sharing the 5 books which have had an influence on his personal and writing life:
The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie was the first adult fiction I ever read, at the age of nine, and it sparked my ambition to write a mystery novel of my own one day. This book saw the debut of Miss Jane Marple, one of the great detectives in fiction. The puzzle is not absolutely top calibre Christie, but it’s pretty good, and the book remains an entertaining read as a period piece to this day.
And Then There Were None, again by Christie, remains in my opinion the most stunning detective novel of the Golden Age. A teasing set-up, a series of killings and a truly baffling mystery, what more could any detective fan want? I read it when I was nine or ten, and have read it several times since. It showed me the potential of the well-plotted mystery, but it is also a book which has something interesting to say about justice.
Billy Liar, by Keith Waterhouse, is a classic story about a young Northern lad with an active imagination. I identified very strongly with Billy, even though I never worked for an undertaker. It’s a funny yet very poignant novel, which made a huge impact on me in my teens. Waterhouse wrote a follow-up years later, but it wasn’t a patch on the original.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller is not only a brilliant satire on the futility of war, a book with a serious and enduring message, but also full of memorable scenes. A funny book which I loved as a teenager, and still enjoy dipping into. Heller was never able to write anything as good again, but this is a masterpiece.
Bleak House by Charles Dickens is wonderful from the opening scenes where the London fog matches the obscurity of the legal system, to the end. The story is terrific, with a splendid detective character, and Dickens’ sharp portrayal of lawyer and legal life has stayed with me as I’ve combined a career in the law with life as a crime novelist.
Martin Edwards’ latest Lake District Mystery is 'The Hanging Wood'.