The Vinyl Detective: Written In Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel


I was intrigued by the premise of Written In Dead Wax, the first in the Vinyl Detective series written by Andrew Cartmel. It promised to deliver a unique mystery story combining music and murder and I was eager to find out more…

‘She sighed and handed me the card. It had my name and address and some nonsense about how I could find any record for anyone…’

The unnamed protagonist in this novel is known as ‘The Vinyl Detective’ at least that’s what his business card claims. A connoisseur of vinyl he resides in a bungalow with two cats and an impressive record collection. He searches for rare albums to sell on and claims to be able to find any record for a fee, although no one has yet tested him. He is taken by surprise when his first client emerges, a mysterious woman by the name of Miss N Warren. She visits him on behalf of her equally mysterious, wealthy client with the task of tracking down a rare copy of a jazz album – a lost recording that itself holds the key to a mystery.

‘It felt very strange to get a letter from a dead man.’

As a man who relishes trawling through crates of records in search of a hidden gem the Vinyl Detective accepts the challenge and with N Warren in tow they begin the search that takes them through record stores, charity shops and boot fairs. However it soon transpires that they are not the only ones in search of this elusive album. There are other, dangerous people who want the same prize and will go to extreme lengths to get it. People connected to the record are put in jeopardy, and not everyone makes it out alive. This certainly makes for an intriguing read as we find out what is significant about this particular vinyl, and how it is connected to the murders.

‘I knew what I’d seen was just the product of fatigue and shock and longing.’

I really liked the characters in this story and the mystery that surrounds them. In particular I liked how the Vinyl Detective and N Warren were completely different people yet they seemed to work well together and it was great to see their relationship develop throughout. I also enjoyed the dialogue between the characters and their amusing interactions which made it fun to read. The mystery focuses around the music world and it is clear that Andrew Cartmel knows his stuff when it comes to music and particularly vinyl records. This added authenticity to the story and I certainly learnt things about vinyl’s that I never knew before.

The black vinyl gleamed. Pristine, virginal and perfect.’

The Vinyl Detective: Written In Dead Wax is a fun read and a unique take on a classic mystery novel. I will certainly be interested to see what is in store for these characters when the next instalments in the series– The Run-Out Groove and Victory Disc are published.

The Vinyl Detective is to be published on 10th May 2016 by Titan Books. Thank you to Lydia Gittins at Titan Books for providing a copy for review.

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