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Dancing for the Hangman Paperback – 25 Nov 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Flambard Press (25 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906601003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906601003
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.9 x 21.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 357,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Martin Edwards is an award-winning crime writer whose sixth and most recent Lake District Mystery, featuring DCI Hannah Scarlett and Daniel Kind, is The Frozen Shroud. Earlier books in the series are The Coffin Trail (short-listed for the Theakston's prize for best British crime novel of 2006), The Cipher Garden, The Arsenic Labyrinth (short-listed for the Lakeland Book of the Year award in 2008), The Serpent Pool, and The Hanging Wood.

Martin has written eight novels about lawyer Harry Devlin, the first of which, All the Lonely People, was short-listed for the CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger for the best first crime novel of the year and has been republished as an Arcturus Crime Classic, to be followed by Yesterday's Papers. The early Devlin books are now enjoying a fresh life as ebooks, with new introductions by leading authors such as Val McDermid and Frances Fyfield, as well as other new material.

In addition Martin has written a stand-alone novel of psychological suspense, Take My Breath Away, and a much acclaimed novel featuring Dr Crippen, Dancing for the Hangman. The latest Devlin novel, Waterloo Sunset, appeared in 2008. He completed Bill Knox's last book, The Lazarus Widow. He has published a collection of short stories, Where Do You Find Your Ideas? and other stories; 'Test Drive' was short-listed for the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2006, while 'The Bookbinder's Apprentice' won the same Dagger in 2008.

A well-known commentator on crime fiction, he has edited 20 anthologies and published eight non-fiction books, including a study of homicide investigation, Urge to Kill.An expert on crime fiction history, he is archivist of both the Crime Writers' Association and the Detection Club. In his spare time he is a partner in a national law firm and posts regularly to his blog, 'Do You Write Under Your Own Name?'

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 April 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I knew very little about the infamous Dr Crippen before I read this book apart from the fact he was apprehended on his way to Canada and brought back to the UK to stand trial for the murder of his wife, Cora. Even though the book is billed as fictionalised history I found myself wondering where the fiction ended and the truth began.

The story consists of Crippen's version of events written when he was awaiting the outcome of his appeal and before his subsequent hanging. Interspersed with this fascinating story are transcriptions of newspaper cuttings, extracts from evidence given at his trial and conversations he may have had with his solicitor. The way the media sought to manipulate events helped to bring the story to life for me.

Crippen - instead of a cold blooded monster - comes over as a clever man dominated by the women in his life by means of his physical relationships with them. I did not find him particularly likeable though I could appreciate his ability to cope with material misfortune and his apparent regard for and appreciation of women. He comes over as both naive and knowledgeable by turns about human nature Was he like this? I don't know but to me his motivations made sense and I could understand how someone like this could have found himself in this situation.

I thought the relationship between Crippen and the investigating officer - Dew - was well done, as was Crippen's relationship with Ethel Le Neve. Did things really happen like this? It is up to the reader to decide but to my mind it is possible it happened like this. I found the book well written and interesting and the author certainly appears to have got inside the murderer's mind and produced a plausible explanation for Crippen's statement that he was innocent of the murder.

Even if you prefer 'true crime' give this a try - you will not be disappointed and neither will the crime fiction fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Georgina Faye on 30 April 2009
Format: Paperback
A tour de force from the author we normally associate with murder mysteries (which are also very good).

The outline of Crippen's life and almost every fact within the story is based on well-researched truth, so lovers of real crime can feel very comfortable with this 'novel'. The fiction comes in with regard to Crippen's character and those of the two women in his life. They are skilfully penned. Crippen comes over as determined but rather naive, dominated by his strong sexuality which intriguingly takes a romantic rather than a violent bent. His character explains motivation, and we find that, even if we don't warm to him much as a person, we do understand. As the saying goes, to understand is to forgive.

The structure of this book is attention-grabbing and uses a very clever device to explore Crippen's past from the circumstances of a terrible present. The immediate explanation for Crippen's fate is devastating and horribly convincing in the context of our world today. Dancing for the Hangman is one for fans of the true crime genre, for those who enjoy master story-telling and for anyone with an interest in social history. A splendid tale, and one I heartily recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E Spencer on 6 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
I have to admit that my copy of Dancing For The Hangman sat on the shelf for quite a while after I received it as a present from a friend who knew I liked Martin Edwards other novels.It looked at me reproachfuly until curiosity overcame me.
As soon as I started reading it I could not put it down.If you already know the authors Liverpool and Lake District novels then you are in for a suprise (if you dont why not!?)
As expected from Martin Edwards, meticulous research helps the reader understand the facts of the case but it is the characterisation of Dr Hawley Crippen his wives and lover that make this book a fantastic read. Passion,intrigue,deception,vanity,greed,and of course murder!!What more can you ask for?
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If you're a reader who likes your crime novel in the `whodunnit' format, starting with a corpse and leading through the forensic skills and persistence of a detective to the satisfaction of someone being `brought to justice' as the modern cliché runs, then this one is not for you.
If, on the other hand, your taste is more towards exploring the characters of both the perpetrator and the victim of a serious crime like murder, then `Dancing for the Hangman' is the perfect marriage of `true crime' and literary fiction.
I say `perpetrator' because for most readers the notorious Dr Crippen is the one who poisoned his wife to make room for his mistress and then amateurishly buried her remains in the coal cellar of their marital home. In all the years since 1910 the name of Crippen is still a metaphor for the ruthless and cunning poisoner, fit to be displayed at Tussauds along with other murderers of a later generation like Christie and Haigh. But Edwards doesn't show us a waxworks image - we get the real man - one with whom we can empathise and perhaps even feel sympathy for. His portrait of Crippen is as much a picture in words as, say, is Holbein's famous portrait of Thomas Cromwell in paint. The man stares out at you, in Crippen's case more likely blinks out, and you know you'd have no trouble recognising him in the street, even today.
The author takes on the role of detective, showing us what may have happened and offering a plausible alternative to the conventional account of this bit of criminal history. The detective novel turned inside-out.
Edwards's Crippen is a victim, every bit as much as the dead woman.
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