Wednesday, January 03, 2018

The Long Arm of the Law: edited by Martin Edwards

I always learn something when I read the British Crime Classics edited by Martin Edwards. Edwards never disappoints. The choice of stories is always interesting, and his introductions are lessons in the history of crime writing. As a fan of police procedurals, I was eager to read The Long Arm of the Law: Classic Police Stories. Where else can you find Edwards' background information for the classic stories collected? The biggest problem with these books? How do you actually review an anthology of crime stories?

Maybe better reviewers than I am can do that. Instead, I find myself nodding when Edwards discusses the history of police procedurals that were written at a time when amateur detective stories were more popular. But, I like what he refers to as "meticulous investigative methods". Readers of classic British crime stories will recognize the appeal of the authors who lay out the stories and allow the reader to follow along, step-by-step. And, Edwards always includes a biographical sketch of the author of these sometimes forgotten classics.

Several of the stories are based on actual cases. Fans of the genre will recognize some of the authors: Edgar Wallace, Freeman Wills Croft, John Creasey, Michael Gilbert. The stories were all published in the 20th century. But, there are detectives and stories that have been forgotten over the years. Wallace's "The Silence of PC Hirley" is a short gem. And, Christianna Brand's "After the Event" won't easily be forgotten.

Really? The best thing to say about The Long Arm of the Law is read it. If you appreciate some of the police procedurals that develop slowly and carefully, along with profiles of the authors, pick up the latest in Edwards' collections of stories.

Martin Edwards' website is

The Long Arm of the Law by Martin Edwards. Poisoned Press Books, 2018. ISBN 9781464209062 (paperback), 234p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the copy for review in a journal.


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

This one is definitely going on my list. I've read a lot of police procedurals over the years.

SandyG265 said...

This sounds good.

Lesa said...

You needed a new story collection to kick off your new year of reading, Jeff. And, safe travels!

Lesa said...

I like police procedurals, Sandy, so I enjoyed this one.

Gram said...

Thanks...I went to my state-wide library request center and found this book. I liked the list of authors you mentioned.

Lesa said...

Gram, I'm so glad you can get most of the books mentioned here through the library.