Martin Edwards

Martin Edwards was educated in Northwich and at Balliol College, Oxford University, taking a first class honours degree in law. He trained as a solicitor in Leeds and moved to Liverpool on qualifying in 1980. He published his first legal article at the age of 25 and become a partner in the firm of Mace and Jones in 1984.He is married to Helena with two children (Jonathan and Catherine) and lives in Lymm. Martin is a member of the Murder Squad collective of crime writers, and is chairman of the nominations sub-committee for the CWA Diamond Dagger (crime writing's most prestigious award). In 2007 he was appointed the Archivist of the Crime Writers Association.


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mation via New Scotland Yard that Finbar had no known links with terrorists. But the temporary legal powers that had been in force for a generation entitled the police to hold someone on the flimsiest of grounds for forty-eight hours, sometimes more. All Harry could offer in return for Sladdin releasing Finbar was the usual blather about his client being willing to surrender his passport and report to a police station whenever he blew his nose.

The detective considered Harry sombrely. In the end he said, ‘Yes, Mr Devlin, at least for the time being.’

‘So I’m free to go?’ asked Finbar, jumping to his feet in his eagerness to be away.

A poor choice of words for a client with a clear conscience. Harry barely stifled a groan, although Sladdin remained impassive.

‘Free, Mr Rogan? Why, of course. You’ve had a traumatic afternoon. I’m only sorry it has been necessary to keep you for so long. You will understand how anxious we are to identify the culprit as soon as possible – this is hardly a typical case of Liverpudlian car vandalism. And then there is the continuing need to preserv
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mpanion. ‘Start with a big company, then sit back and wait.’

The man by his side chuckled, a reaction as unexpected as a snigger from a corpse. Stanley Rowe was a cadaverous individual whose pallor and mournful expression had earned him an appropriate sobriquet. But life hadn’t been too hard on Death Rowe; he had sold his estate agency to an insurance company with more money than sense at the height of the property boom in the late eighties and had bought it back for half the price after the bottom fell out of the market a couple of years later.
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ng place. Finally he surrendered.

‘Who is it?’

‘Mr Rogan,’ the girl said and put Finbar through before Harry could tell her to take a message.

‘Harry, at last! This is the third time I’ve called since midday. The lovely Suzanne said you’d gone to some lecture, but this is no time for swotting. Your clients need help.’

‘What can I do for you?’ asked Harry, not finding it difficult to restrain his enthusiasm.

‘Listen, that bloody Sladdin, you know what he’s done? He’s got a couple of fellers in a car down the road keeping an eye on me. When I went out to the newsagent to see what the Daily Post had to say about the bomb, they followed me down the road. Trying to be discreet, like, but I could tell what they were up to.’

After his humiliating encounter with Dermot McCray, Harry didn’t feel inclined to offer his shoulder for crying on. ‘What do you expect? You’re a Dubliner, there was a bomb under your car, you gave Sladdin the impression you were telling less than the whole truth…’

‘I’m a bloody victim! The bomb was meant for me!’

‘Look, you’re not dealing with a fool. Sladdin would be negligent if he didn’t set up some form of surveillance.’

At the other end of the line Finbar sighed. ‘Fat lot of comfort you are. How long is this likely to go on?’

‘Till Sladdin finds out who has it in for you. You could speed things up by coming clean.’

‘What d’you mean?’

‘Come on, Finbar, let’s not play games. People don’t have their premises burned down and their cars bombed simply for dropping litter in the street. Until you take me into your confidence, there isn’t much I can do to save your skin from Dermot McCray.’
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