Harry Devlin, the Liverpool lawyer introduced in the classic All The Lonely People, went on to feature in seven books in total, culminating, so far, with the equally impressive Waterloo Sunset. I don’t think that there are any immediate plans for a return outing for Harry, so for the time being I have to savour the books that there are. Yesterday’s Papers, named after a song by the Rolling Stones, is the fourth book, and sees Harry once again sticking his nose where it doesn’t really belong.
Many years previously, on Leap Year Day in 1964, Caroline Jeffries was strangled in Sefton Park. Her obsessive neighbour confessed to the crime and subsequently killed himself in prison. Enter Ernest Miller, who persuades Harry that there has been a miscarriage of justice – despite the fact that he is clearly not telling Harry everything. Despite the lack of evidence, Harry begins to investigate, but when another death occurs, it seems that things were not as open and shut as everyone else believed.
I don’t review Martin Edwards books as often as I’d like to for a simple reason – there’s only four left (that I’ve got) – and I know that I’m guaranteed a good read. As such, I tend to save them for when I need a good read. My fellow bloggers will know what I mean – you’re struggling through another book, you’ve read too much of it to give up on it totally, but you really need a break, preferably one that reminds you why you enjoy reading. By a complete coincidence, someone else posted on this book a couple of days ago – Martin Edwards himself, pointing out that this is the Devlin book that he is most proud of.
I can see why. The mystery is carefully plotted, with enough clues to sort out what’s going on, without it being at all obvious. With a fair amount of recent history thrown in, and an up to date story concerning a possible miscarriage of justice, there’s plenty going on to keep the reader gripped.
In the first third or so of the book, nothing much happens, plot-wise, just a drip-feed of information from the past. In that aspect, the book is the same as the one that I’m struggling with at the moment. But where I want to throw that one at the wall in frustration (I won’t, as it’ll break my Kindle), with Yesterday’s Papers, I couldn’t put it down. I’m not going to say any more about the plot, as it may spoil some aspects – indeed, there’s something in Martin’s blogpost that gives a little too much information about the nature of the plot twists.
So, if you’re looking for a strong plot, engaging characters, some Liverpudlian history and a few surprises, this will be the book for you. Highly recommended.
And if you want some more recommendations, then here are some others:
- All The Lonely People
- Suspicious Minds
- I Remember You
- Waterloo Sunset
- The Coffin Trail – no review, as I read it before starting the blog
- The Cipher Garden
- The Arsenic Labyrinth
- The Serpent Pool
All by Martin Edwards, obviously, and all highly recommended as well.