Yesterday’s Papers is the 4th book in Martin Edwards’ Harry Devlin book in his Liverpool series, first published in 1991 and it’s the first one I’ve read. There are eight books in the series. My copy is a paperback edition, published in 2013 and it is one of my TBRs.
About the book
On Leap Year Day in 1964, an attractive teenager called Carole Jeffries was strangled in a Liverpool park. The killing caused a sensation: Carole came from a prominent political family and her pop musician boyfriend was a leading exponent of the Mersey Sound. When a neighbour confessed to the crime, the case was closed. Now, more than thirty years later, Ernest Miller, an amateur criminologist, seeks to persuade lawyer Harry Devlin that the true culprit escaped scot free. Although he suspects Miller’s motives, Harry has a thirst for justice and begins to delve into the past. But when another death occurs, it becomes clear that someone wants old secrets to remain buried – at any price…
I’ve enjoyed Martin Edwards’ Lake District mysteries, so I was expecting to enjoy his Liverpool novels, featuring solicitor Harry Devlin, and I’m glad to say that I did enjoy this one. The titles of the books are all taken from songs – Yesterday’s Papers is a song by the Rolling Stones from their 1967 album, Breaking the Buttons. In this book Harry is investigating a crime dating back thirty years to the 1960s, the period of Beatlemania, with the focus on the sixties music scene. It has a great sense of place – Martin Edwards obviously knows Liverpool very well.
Although I wanted to know more about Harry Devlin, this does work well as a standalone as there is enough information to get some idea about his character and personal life – his wife, Liz, died – murdered – ten years earlier; he has no family and lives alone. (I must read the first book, All the Lonely People to find out what happened to Liz. ) He is in partnership with Jim Crusoe. Thirty years ago when Edwin Smith was charged with murdering Carole Jeffries Tweats had been his solicitor, so when Crusoe and Devlin had taken over Tweats’ practice the case files, including that of her murder, were handed over to them. Harry is intrigued when Ernest Miller is convinced that Smith was innocent and when Smith is found dead, possibly murdered too, he decides to look into the case.
I like Harry. He is thorough and is not easily deterred, even though it’s difficult to get to the truth after the passage of thirty years, especially when Carole’s father had died and her mother is extremely reluctant to talk to Harry. Needless to say, this proves to be a complicated case and I had little idea what the outcome would be. I had my suspicions, but was wrong and only worked it out just before the end of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed Yesterday’s Papers and am keen to read more about Harry Devlin!
The Liverpool series:
- All the Lonely People (1991)
- Suspicious Minds (1992)
- I Remember You (1993)
- Yesterday’s Papers (1994)
- Eve of Destruction (1996)
- The Devil in Disguise (1998)
- First Cut is the Deepest (1999)
- Waterloo Sunset (2008)
4 thoughts on “Yesterday’s Papers by Martin Edwards”
Like you, I’ve enjoyed the Lake District series but not ventured into Harry Devlin. I’m not sure why, I know and love Liverpool (I did my PhD there). I think I remember reading an article about them and thinking Harry seem too tough for me. A case for picking up the first one, perhaps, and giving them a chance?
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I don’t really know what you mean by ‘too tough’? He’s no pushover, but there was nothing gory, etc. I’d say yes – try one. I’ve had a quick look at the intro to All the Lonely People. Frances Fyfield describes Harry as ‘El Machismo he isn’t: brave he certainly is.’ And ‘Devlin and his author love and forgive their clients and their friends even when they hate them, and that is the lot of the humane man.’
SO glad you enjoyed this, Margaret. I like Edwards’ Harry Devlin series, too. And, yes, I really do recommend All the Lonely People. It’s a fine story in itself, and gives some helpful background on Harry Devlin. I hope you’ll enjoy that one when and if.
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And I forgot to say it is beautifully written with great descriptive prose.
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