WANT to know how to write the perfect crime thriller? Well, you could do worse than takes tips from a master.

You'll have the chance to do just that at this year's York Literature Festival. On March 28, Martin Edwards will be giving a talk on the 'Art of the Whodunnit'?

Martin who, you say? Well, he's only the author of a string of crime stories set in the Lake District and London. And he's the recipient of this year's Diamond Dagger, the Crime Writer's Association's highest accolade.

He's got Yorkshire roots, too. His mum was born here, and his latest novel, Mortmain Hall, is set mainly on the Yorkshire coast. "Mortmain is not far from Robin Hood's Bay!" he says.

So yes, you really will be in the hands of a master if you can make it on March 28. Aspiring crime writers take note...

As a local bookstore owner I was very excited to find that this year's Diamond Dagger prize had been awarded to a guest speaker of the York Literature Festival Last year I reviewed a collection of crime short stories called The Christmas Card Crime and other Stories, edited by Martin.

At the time I remember thinking what a marvellous job it would be to have access to all the British Library Archive of crime magazines and then get to pick a few out to republish.

Then I found out that Martin wrote his own crime stories too, some set in the Lake District and now a new series set in 1930’s London.

Looking further into his career you realise that Martin lives, eats and breathes crime fiction. He has been tirelessly promoting the genre all his life, has talked at all the major crime festivals and has been the President of the Detection Club since 2015, a position previously held by such notable authors as G.K. Chesterton and Agatha Christie.

His non fiction book The Golden Age of Murder gives a fascinating account of the life and times of the great writers of the early twentieth century.

It explores the society they lived in and some of the real life crimes that inspired them. In his own fiction Martin recaptures the flavour of the era and also the true love of detection that makes the best crime stories a thrilling puzzle to be solved for the reader too.

I spoke to Martin shortly after he was awarded the Diamond Dagger. "I fell in love with crime fiction when as a young boy I first discovered Agatha Christie," he said.

"From then on, my only ambition was to write a detective novel that people might enjoy reading. But I never imagined receiving an accolade like this.”

And so on to the important question. Given that he has personal ties to Yorkshire through his mum, which crime writers does he think best capture the character of the county?

"Reginald Hill, creator of Dalziel and Pascoe, was a good friend of mine and a sort of mentor to me as a writer," he says. "Novels like Bones and Silence and Dialogues of the Dead are brilliant mysteries which benefit greatly from the Yorkshire setting. Peter Robinson’s books about DCI Banks are another Yorkshire favourite."

And then of course there's his own latest, Mortmain Hall.

"The year is 1930," reads the blurb. "At her remote estate on the Yorkshire coast, heiress and amateur sleuth Rachel Savernake is hosting a gathering of people who have cheated the gallows. But the house party culminates in tragedy when a body is found beneath the crumbling cliffs..."

Sounds intriguing. So if you enjoy crime fiction at its very best, make sure not to miss Martin when he rocks up in York on March 28.

Philippa Morris,

Little Apple bookshop

Martin Edwards, The Art of the Whodunnit, Saturday March 28, 1.30pm, King’s Manor. Tickets £8.

For tickets or to find out about other York Literature Festival events, visit yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk