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Gallows Court

(Rachel Savernake #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  803 ratings  ·  166 reviews
Alternate cover edition of ASIN B079GXJPC8

LONDON, 1930
Sooty, sulphurous, and malign: no woman should be out on a night like this. A spate of violent deaths – the details too foul to print – has horrified the capital and the smog-bound streets are deserted. But Rachel Savernake – the enigmatic daughter of a notorious hanging judge – is no ordinary woman. To Scotland Yard’s
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published September 6th 2018 by Head of Zeus
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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Martin Edwards writes a truly atmospheric and fiendishly intricate piece of historical crime fiction with strong elements of horror set in 1930s London. It begins on the remote Irish island of Gaunt, with a young desperate girl, Juliet Bretano in her journal documenting her fears for herself after what she is certain is the murder of her parents, convinced it is the work of the evil Rachel Savernake, the daughter of a judge with a fearsome reputation. Years later, Rachel, now a rich heiress with ...more
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovers of Golden Age detective fiction, such as myself, are all aware of author, Martin Edwards, from the excellent introductions he has written to so many such novels – not to mention his non-fiction work about the genre, “The Golden Age of Murder,” and his more contemporary crime novels. This is something a little different from him, a dark and sinister crime novel, set in 1930, London.

Young reporter, Jacob Flint, is a crime reporter on the Clarion. The chief crime reporter, Tom Betts, was re
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
“Gallows Court” by Martin Edwards is a historic crime novel set in London 1930’s and is the first in the enigmatic and thrilling Rachel Savernake series.
The author transported me instantly to the Golden Age of suspense and I truly felt immersed in the 1930’s, an era of which I haven’t read a lot of but do love.
The character of Rachel (daughter of a notorious hanging judge) is like no other and along with all the other intriguingly named and imaginative people in the story, is someone you will w
Blaine DeSantis
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Talk about a book that picks up steam! Thanks NetGalley for the free advance copy of this book for an honest review. Tremendous mystery with lots of murders, and yet a purpose behind the murders. About half way through the book this book is like a locomotive, and it is runaway excitement and entertainment, to the point where I could not put it down until I had finished it! Well written, with so many twists and turns it is hard to keep up. But it all comes together under a masterful job by the au ...more
Judy Lesley
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Thank you to Head of Zeus and NetGalley for a digital galley of this novel.

Frankly I had expected to like this book more. I realize now that I was judging Martin Edwards' writing based on the introductions and information he provides in so many mystery anthologies I've read which he has edited. Edwards is definitely a good writer as this novel has proven but still I didn't enjoy the story much. The book is darker than I had expected and it took me a long time to settle in to read it. During the
Rachel Hall
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Labyrinthine trawl through the dark underbelly of 1930s London - immersive, atmospheric & tightly-plotted.

Although I was well aware of Martin Edwards reputation as an authority on golden age detective fiction, Gallows Court is the first of his novels that I have read and apparently marks the start of a slight change in his style, combining a contemporary twist with a classic period setting.

A chilling entry from a journal written in 1919 sets a sinister tone as the novel opens with a newly orpha
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This brilliantly plotted novel is probably my favorite Martin Edwards mystery to date. A deviously intricate plot backs up the atmospheric setting of this Golden Age-style mystery, and I didn't guess the satisfying solution. ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
1930's London: Jacob Flint is a young journalist looking for a scoop to make his name as a crime reporter.

Rachel Savernake is ‘the richest woman in London’, a woman of mystery and questionable background.

Several murder/suicides have taken place within a short period of time where Jacob has appeared on the scene rather quickly.

The book is interspersed with a young girl's journal written in 1919 – who is Juliet Brentano?

There are too many characters to keep track of and by the end I was too confu
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Entertaining enough, but way over the top.I wonder if it was intended as a parody?
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tough one to review - at first, I disliked the book not certain I could go on as it was just so dark! Also, I did have a bit of trouble keeping the characters straight. The ending did redeem the book where things made more sense, rather than just dead bodies falling like slow-motion dominoes, etc. Not much more to say without getting into plot details, and by now others have covered that better than I might.

Some reviewers disliked the audio narration, but I thought it worked very well; I notice
Gallows Court (2018) is a bit of a departure for Martin Edwards, though those of us in the GAD (Golden Age of Detection) world shouldn't be surprised. Edwards is the author of two modern mystery series: one featuring Liverpool lawyer Harry Devlin and the other set in the Lake District and featuring DCI Hannah Scarlett and Oxford historian Daniel Kind. But Edwards is also very much a GAD man--serving as eighth President of the Detection Club, an office filled by the likes of G. K. Chesterton, Dor ...more
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this book: couldn’t make up my mind whether Rachel was a Goodie or a Baddie (which the author intended) and didn’t see the twist or two before they were revealed.
Maine Colonial
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, british, dark
I have mixed feelings about this. Despite some reviews, and Edwards’s reputation as an expert, it doesn’t have the feel of a Golden Age mystery at all. Golden Age mysteries are rarely so sordid, and the crimes in this novel can’t be called anything else. This isn’t really a whodunnit, either. From fairly early on, you have a very good idea whodunnit; it just takes awhile to figure out the reasons behind the killings.

The most mysterious part of the book is figuring out the Rachel Savernake chara
Martin Edwards is as close to the King of Golden Age Mysteries as one can get. His work with the British Library Crime Classics series has resulted in the most thrilling anthologies and introductions to the collections. Martin's non-fiction The Golden Age of Murder, which is a comprehensive study of detective stories between WWI and WWII, won the Edgar, the Agatha, the H.R.F. Keating, and the Macavity awards, in addition to being shortlisted for an Anthony and the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction ...more
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
There was a touch of pastiche in this thriller--far more of a thriller than a mystery--with its cast of cynical journalists, corrupt officialdom, beautiful and mysterious women, and devoted henchmen (and women). As other readers have noted, it was also more noir than Golden Age; it lacked the lightness of touch that I was expecting.

It was also a hard novel to get into for about the first half; new characters seemed to be constantly coming on stage. Fortunately the second half involves most of th
April Taylor
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
The author is clearly talented, and I love the fact that he’s not afraid to use words that might make readers check a dictionary. However, this book took almost to the halfway point to really capture my attention, and then there were so many twists and turns - several of which were very convoluted - that I became impatient with the ending.

In a nutshell, you’ve got a journalist, an eccentric wealthy woman, and a long list of other characters who keep dying in mysterious/suspicious ways. There ar
Blaine DeSantis
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Talk about a book that picks up steam! Thanks NetGalley for the free advance copy of this book for an honest review. Tremendous mystery with lots of murders, and yet a purpose behind the murders. About half way through the book this book is like a locomotive, and it is runaway excitement and entertainment, to the point where I could not put it down until I had finished it! Well written, with so many twists and turns it is hard to keep up. But it all comes together under a masterful job by the au ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Overly complicated and much of it reads as if each twist and turn was made up on by the writer as he went along . Being a modern take on a 1930's setting it had to include a bit of paedophelia , care homes , and some utterly ridiculous murders of all and sundry .

By the end when all the various strands were tied up I really could not care less who was left alive and how .

Puzzle Doctor
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A truly outstanding original piece of crime fiction. Full review at
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
London, 1930. Jacob Flint, is an ambitious crime writer for The Clarion. Rachel Savernake, daughter of the late Judge Savernake, has just solved a murder that Scotland Yard couldn’t, and may be about to solve another. For Jacob, an interview with the elusive Rachel would make his career. Unfortunately for him, she sends him on his way with a flea in his ear. All too soon other deaths follow. Jacob begins to see too many coincidences, and Rachel seems to be always involved. Is she really just an ...more
Not quite a four, but more than a three.

This was the first book that Page1 sent me. (It is a subscription service and a Christmas present).

Because of the book cover, I most likely would have passed this by in a bookstore. It is more a thriller than a mystery, and an attentive reader can pretty much figure out one of the big reveals early in the book.

It is also a little strange that for a series named for a woman, we spend more time with the male reporter investigating her. And Rachel Savernake
Cleopatra  Pullen
Martin Edwards is an expert in classic crime springing from the Golden Age so I was thrilled to be asked to be part of the blog tour to celebrate the publication of Gallows Court, a book written in the model of all the greats. His study of the sub-genre combine with the fact that I have experienced nothing but pure joy when reading his modern crime series set in the Lake District set my expectations high; they were met.

The main setting is London in the smog but we are also drawn back to the past
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rachel is the daughter of a former “hanging judge”. Toward the end of his life, he had lost all sense of reality. He was a figure to be feared.

Rachel is a young woman of mystery. Is she responsible for unspeakable crimes? Has she driven men to their deaths? Or is she simply a young woman who believes in justice and is disappointed when the police do not believe what she reports to them?

Jacob is a young reporter on a tabloid paper. He inherits the job of lead crime reporter, when the previous le
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-cops
Gallows Court is a mystery novel that reminds us of classic detective stories. Only this one is much more twisty and full of despicable characters. What I loved more about this book at first is that it gets interesting as soon as it starts. You’re the witness of a conversation you don’t really know what’s about and you read about a crime that’s not your traditional one. And then there’s Rachel, of course. The woman at the centre of it all, as the blurb appropriately says.

Jacob Flint is the hero
Benjamin Thomas
Ever since I read Martin Edward’s multiple award-winning nonfiction book The Golden Age of Murder, I’ve been wanting to sample his fiction. Even though he has a couple of other series, I chose this one since it is the beginning of a whole new series. Set in 1930 London, it features a crime desk journalist named Jacob Flint and a whole series of deaths that could be accidents, suicides, or murders. A common denominator is an amateur sleuth named Rachel Savernake who has recently solved a case tha ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it

At the centre of this novel are two characters: Jacob Flint, a young newspaperman working for The Clarion, a sensationalist daily; and Rachel Savernake, an incredibly wealthy amateur sleuth, the daughter of a judge renowned for his severe punishment and reputed to be mad at the end.

We know there is some sort of mystery surrounding Rachel Savernake right from the beginning. We are told so in a journal entry written in 1919 by a Juliet Brentano recording the death of her parents. Subsequent diary
Tonstant Weader
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gallows Court is a historical mystery featuring a disconcerting and mysterious woman named Rachel Savenake who alternately fascinates and horrifies Jacob Flint, the intrepid reporter who sees a pattern in some recent deaths, including the accident that has put his mentor in the hospital and at death’s door.

Two horrific murderers have confessed and killed themselves. Rather than rejoicing, Jacob wonders if there is more to the story and everywhere he looks, there is the beautiful and wealthy Rach
2 1/2 stars. All right. I thought it would be more like a Golden Age detective story which is easy famous for writing about and being the editor for a series about: British Library Crime Classics. This is more of a conspiracy/thriller novel with psychological aspects. Overall, it is a little too complicated for my taste and unrealistic.
John Wintersteen
Oct 04, 2019 marked it as wish-list-possibles
Shelves: priorities
Written up by Marilyn Stasio on Oct 4 NYT
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it
A little hard to follow as tons of characters and not a lot of explanation, but I enjoyed the unusual plot and twists.
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Martin Edwards’ latest novel, Gallows Court, was published in September. He is consultant to the British Library’s Crime Classics series, and has written sixteen contemporary whodunits, including The Coffin Trail, which was shortlisted for the Theakston’s Prize for best crime novel of the year. His genre study The Golden Age of Murder won the Edgar, Agatha, H.R.F. Keating and Macavity awards, whil ...more

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