Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax Book Review

The Vinyl Detective Book Review

The Vinyl Detective Series: Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel

Yes, vinyl is trendy. If you are not sure what I mean by vinyl you likely will recognize the old school terms for record albums and LPs. If you don't know what a record or an LP is, you likely recognized vinyl right away. I would bet that whichever term you use to refer to “a thin plastic disk that carries recorded sound in grooves” tells us a bit about your age.

Yes, the detective in this book seeks and finds records. I'm not sure if that is his official profession though he is not employed at any other task and is chronically broke but vinyl is definitely where his knowledge lies and a way for him to make a living or at least, earn some money.

Finally, yes, some vinyl is worth seeking and reselling. A lot of it has no value but a quick search of eBay sold items as seen if you click here will reveal that some are very valuable. The result I see on eBay as I write this post shows that almost 500,000 vinyl records have been sold though I am sorry I cannot tell you in what time frame that was. The results show a first impression Motley Crue Too Fast For Love album and a Japanese Pink Floyd album each selling for almost $5,000.

I am a reseller and yes, therein at least partially lies my interest in the subject matter of this book. I do look for vinyl to resell though I know little about the subject and have sold only a very few records. After receiving a turntable at Christmas in order to play our existing collection of vintage vinyl records, I now find myself looking for vinyl that I find interesting and that I would like to own and occasionally, I add something obscure to my pile with the hopes that it will be valuable. Only a couple of times have I returned home with a record that we already own (oops) and no, I have not found a record that is valuable yet.

The back of this book says that the author, Andrew Cartmel, lives in London with “too much vinyl and just enough cats” but I have no idea if the records and the extensive back story in this book are actually real, rare and valuable or if the whole thing is fictional.  There is, however, a lot to be learned about records and the related paraphernalia in this book. Do note, as the book points out, that we don't say vinyls.

What's Dead Wax?

Just in case you are wondering, Dead Wax is the area on a record that is left blank after the music or playable area and before the paper label. Apparently, the dead wax can have important information and, in the case of this book, messages. I did not know that there was a term for this space though of course it makes sense.

What's Offensive in the Book? 

There is sex, drugs and rock and roll between the covers but not in a particularly offensive manner. Oh and yes, there is murder some of which is not nice but then when is murder ever nice? Anyway, I did not find most of it particularly gruesome or gory. Moments were fleeting and skipped past quickly.  There were a few shocks when the murders happened.

Did I Like the Book? Do I Recommend it?

Yes, I liked the book though I disliked parts. I did not like the way one relationship dissolved and was immediately replaced by another and then that situation dissolved and was immediately replaced by another again though I was heartbroken at moments for the main character and wonder what heartaches await him in the next novel.

The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax was very readable and an interesting treasure hunt for a series of very rare jazz records. It was a peek into the dedication of a true vinyl enthusiast and his network and knowledge. This detective certainly knows how to search for and find vinyl records and yes, I do recommend this book.

Who Will Like This Book? 

Anyone who likes a detective novel with a set of unusual characters should like this book as well as anyone who is curious about the world of vinyl or who is interested in reselling. Bonus, if you love cats, the cute pair in this book loves to be petted under the chin. “They do. They do. Under the chin. Yes, that’s right. Under the chin.”

What Are The Names of The Other Books in the Series?

Up next? There are four more books in this series featuring The Vinyl Detective called The Run-Out Groove, Victory Disc, Flip Back and Murder Swing. Click here to find your copy of the first book, The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax on Amazon.

See you at the bookstore!
(Or maybe at the crates of records
at the next tag sale wearing your
crate-digging shoes.)
Treasures by Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy The Vinyl Detective on Amazon.
Check out the vinyl I have in my eBay store!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Well that's an interesting review! And WOW the value of some vinyl is shocking! - The book sounds intriguing. I have a lot of vinyl records still from back in the day, and one of my sons is all into the retro way of listening to music - he now owns a turntable. He has many of our old albums as well. Honestly going to look to see what's left and if there's value in any (lol - retro hahaha, my youth is now retro).

    1. I think it is wonderful that someone is using your records, Barbara. Wonder if you found anything valuable!

  2. Hahaha, like Barbara, I can see that my youth has also now become 'retro'. How strange! :) I was fascinated to learn what 'dead wax' meant. Had no idea there was a name for that blank area.

    At one point, I think we must have owned over 500 vinyl LPs and a few 45s thrown in as well. My hubby began his broadcasting career as a radio announcer/DJ and physically putting the record on the turntable at the station (and announcing the song/artist over the air) was his job. Besides the records we collected, we ended up with a lot of duplicate LPs sent to stations to promote. Stereo sets with a good turntable were updated several times in our home over the years. I still have a few vinyl LPs, but no longer a turntable. Since vinyls were so much a part of our lives back in the day, it's fun to see there is now a series of books about The Vinyl Detective. And I hear that vinyl LPs are enjoying a comeback.

    1. Absolutely, Miss Elf. Vinyls are having a comeback and cassette tapes, too!

  3. Oh this sounds interesting. I wish I had all the vinyl that I really enjoyed. I do have some and my other half is always finding better ways to clean them and keep them pristine, just in case one or two of them really do become valuable. The book sounds interesting too!

    1. That's funny, my husband is chief in charge of cleaning our records, too!

  4. We still have a vinyl collection :)

  5. It sounds like a fun murder mystery book to read for those of us who love our vinyls. I do have my own vinyl collection which I purchased at the time of their original release. I guess that is telling my age. I should note though, I do not have a Motley Crue or a Pink Floyd album. That was not my preferred genre in music. I still love vinyls. My husband gave me a new turn table for Christmas several years back so I could play them again.

    1. I, too, don't own any Motley Crue or Pink Floyd and I'm not sure what the heaviest metal band we might have in our collection. Someone in our house once liked Alice Cooper so there's likely some of him on our shelves. My favorite band (from days gone by) was likely Supertramp though as a tween I loved David Cassidy and Leif Garrett.

  6. Sounds like an interesting book series. I appreciate your info on vinyl and dead wax. Like Wednesday Elf, my husband also started in radio as a DJ and also a board he spent lots of time spinning up the vinyl. I sometimes went to the studio (before we were married and would watch him). I'll have to check out this series. Thanks for the recommend.

    1. You are welcome, Mary Beth. There was a lot to learn in this book about the world of records and the equipment.

  7. Thanks for introducing us to this new series. I, too, still have my beloved vinyl collection, although mine leans more Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Dan Fogelberg and Cream than Motley Crue or Pink Floyd. I had never heard the term “dead wax” even though I was a DJ on my college’s commercial radio station for several years!

    1. Sounds like some interesting records in your collection, Margaret. You've named some important bands! Thanks for your visit.

  8. Wow, thanks for all the visits ladies and sharing your history with vinyl!

  9. I enjoyed your review. The book sounds interesting. I've always wondered if my crate of LP's might worth anything, but I'm afraid I didn't keep the album covers in collectible condition. I think that matters. I'm sure I'd like the book except maybe for those parts you didn't like much.


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