Synopses & Reviews
What is meant as a fresh start in the English Lakes District begins to reek of buried secrets.
Oxford historian and TV personality Daniel Kind and his new lover, Miranda, both want to escape to a new life. On impulse they buy Tarn Cottage in Brackdale, an idyllic valley in the Lake District that Daniel knew as a boy. He is still fascinated by a place so remote that the dead had to be carried out over the peaks on pack animals along the ancient Coffin Trail. But though the couple hope to live the dream of downsizing, the past has a way of catching up.
Tarn Cottage was once home to Barrie Gilpin, an autistic youth suspected of a savage murder what looks like the ritualistic killing of a young woman visitor to the valley. She was found laid out on the Sacrifice Stone, an ancient pagan site up on the fell. Barrie fell to his death near the crime scene before he could be questioned. All these years later, Daniel retains his belief in Barrie's innocence and questions his own policeman father's handling of the case. When DCI Hannah Scarlett and her squad launch a cold case review, Brackdale's skeletons begin to rattle.
The wild geography of the Lakes District plays against local literary references, all backdrop to the lives of villagers and outsiders drawn to this beautiful spot but for what reasons? The Coffin Trail launches a new series by a master British hand.
"In this well-crafted whodunit from veteran British crime writer Edwards (All the Lonely People), Daniel Kind, a popular historian best known for a TV series that tries to solve historical mysteries using classic Holmesian deductive methods, decides to retreat from Oxford academia with his new love, Miranda. By chance, Miranda falls for a cottage in the Lake District that had once been the home of Kind's late friend Barrie Gilpin, a young sufferer of Asperger's syndrome. Gilpin was suspected of the gory ritualistic murder of an attractive woman on the Sacrifice Stone, a local landmark, but fell to his death before the police could question him. By yet another coincidence, Kind's late father was the senior investigating officer involved. Thanks to an anonymous informant, the father's protg, DCI Hannah Scarlett, is about to reopen the old case. The renewed inquiry stirs up a hornet's nest and foments resentment toward Kind, whose amateur sleuthing is aimed at exonerating Gilpin. Despite the implausible setup and thin characterizations, Edwards's book is an interesting fair-play puzzler that will engage fans who like their contemporary crime in an English village setting. Agent, Georges Borchardt. (Oct. 15) Forecast: Blurbs from such better known British mystery authors as Peter Robinson, Anne Perry and Reginald Hill will cue their fans." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"With its twisty plot, atmospheric setting, and typical English-village characters, this new series from British crime novelist Edwards will appeal to Peter Robinson and Reginald Hill devotees." Library Journal
"[A]tmospheric, haunting, and so tactile you can almost smell the moist air." Booklist
"[R]eaders will appreciate this fine amateur sleuth police procedural rivalry in which the who-done-it is cleverly devised." Midwest Book Review
"The picturesque qualities of Northern England's touristy area are fabulously described, and make a superior scenic backdrop for this otherwise dark tale." I Love a Mystery
Oxford historian and TV personality Daniel Kind and his lover, Miranda, buy Tarn Cottage--once home to an autistic youth suspected of murder--in Brackdale, a place so remote that the dead had to be carried out over the peaks on pack animals along the ancient Coffin Trail. When the unsolved murder case is reopened, Brackdales skeletons begin to rattle.
About the Author
The first of Martin's eight novels, All the Lonely People, nominated for the CWA's John Creasey Memorial Dagger, introduced lawyer Harry Devlin. Martin has also written a stand-alone, Take My Breath Away, and completed The Lazarus Widow by the late Bill Knox. His ten non-fiction books include Urge to Kill, a study of homicide investigation, and he has contributed to reference books such as The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing.