True Crimes


Thus far I have come across three possible solutions to the mystery of the identity of Martin Edwards, the author of Luca Antara (Oldcastle, 2008). The first is a contribution by writer and scholar, David Herkt:

I’m thinking of Martin Edwards now, he wrote, in Brighton, with his fashionable oblong spectacles, his impeccably ordered library of colonial literature, that elderly red-setter, that long history of letters-to-the-editor, and his own infinity mirror puzzling about a certain Martin Edmond whose name appears on a random copy of an Edwards book. Mr Edwards may even own copies of The Diary of Aimee Leroy, The Voyage of Antonio da Nova, and many other rarities . . .

The second is the crime writer and solicitor, Kenneth Martin Edwards, author of The Lake District Mysteries and numerous other works. He is also an authority on crime fiction and in 2015 published The Golden Age of Murder – Solving the Mysteries of the Writers Who Invented the Modern Detective Story, an acclaimed study of the genre between the wars. A book of impressive cultural omniscience . . . superbly compendious and entertaining, wrote Mark Lawson in The Guardian.

Edwards studied at Balliol College, Oxford, where he took a first class honours degree in Jurisprudence in 1977. He qualified as a solicitor in 1980 and joined the firm of Mace & Jones; he became a partner in 1984, and head of employment law in 1990; in 2011, the firm merged with Weightmans LLP, with whom he is now a consultant. While Oldcastle Books are known primarily as publishers of crime fiction, Edwards doesn’t appear to be one of their authors. Or not in that particular genre.

The third is a more equivocal, and perhaps less likely, candidate: Charles Martin Edwards was the chairman of Manchester United from 1980 until 2002 and now holds the position of honorary life president at the club; and is Director of Inview Technology. Edwards was part of the four man board which, in 1986, appointed Alex Ferguson as manager of Man U. Ferguson went on to become the most successful British football manager in history.

This Martin Edwards received a police caution following an incident at the Mottram Hall Hotel, near Macclesfield, Cheshire on 17 August 2002. A woman in her 40s said he entered the ladies toilets and spied under one of the cubicles at her. He resigned from the Man U board soon after news of the caution broke, and stepped down as chairman seven months later. When the incident became known, further witnesses came forward stating that they, too, had been victims of similar behaviour in the toilets at Old Trafford.

My suspicion is, however, that these three men are in fact one and the same; and that he has, for reasons best known to himself, assumed a fourth identity, that of the supposed author of books which actually came from other hands. His successful appropriation of authorship of Luca Antara has had far–reaching effects. Copies have, as mentioned, surfaced in Sydney. They are available for sale on eBay in the UK. And there are volumes under Edwards name for loan from the Toronto Public Library in Ontario, Canada.


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