cover image Mortmain Hall: A Rachel Savernake Golden Age Mystery

Mortmain Hall: A Rachel Savernake Golden Age Mystery

Martin Edwards. Poisoned Pen, $15.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1405-9

Set in 1930s England, Edgar winner Edwards’s sequel to 2019’s Gallows Court is a triumph, from its tantalizing opening, in which an unnamed dying man begins to explain an unspecified perfect crime, through its scrupulously fair final reveal. Rachel Savernake, an enigmatic figure fascinated with mysteries, is tipped off by Reggie Vickers, who works in Whitehall, that someone is about to be murdered. Gilbert Payne, a publisher believed dead, is set to travel, incognito, from London to his mother’s funeral in the country. Rachel warns Gilbert that his life is in peril, but he ignores her, and ends up dead under the wheels of a train. Meanwhile, Rachel’s reporter friend, Jacob Flint, is approached by Leonora Dobell, one of the country’s top criminologists, who seeks an introduction to Rachel, who later attends a house party at Leonora’s home, Mortmain Hall, on the Yorkshire coast, for “acquitted murder suspects,” whose ranks include other individuals Reggie mentioned to Rachel. The labyrinthine plot builds to a logical explanation. Edwards, the current president of the Detection Club, a group of British mystery writers founded in 1930, impressively channels Agatha Christie, one of his predecessors in that position. (Sept.)