Lately I’ve felt few hardcovers are actually worth owning, but there are always exceptions. I’m sure many of us have our collections – all of Agatha Christie or Michael Connelly or Sue Grafton, for example – but Martin Edwards’ new reference book, The Life of Crime, is the exception to the rule. First of all, it’s beautiful. The paper is smooth and creamy; the jacket is simple and elegant; and the endpapers – a collection of classic crime covers – are to die for. But while the cover draws you in, it’s what’s between them that’s the point.