Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Mount TBR 2017

The Cipher Garden – Martin Edwards

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

We are back in the Lake District with its unpredictable weather and beautiful scenery with the appealing Daniel Kind, historian who finds parallels between his specialism and the work of a detective, particularly when the crimes reach back in time.

I really enjoyed the first of Martin Edwards’ The Lake District Mysteries, The Coffin Trail and fortunately I had already purchased the second in the series. The key mystery in this book is the death many years ago of Warren Howe, a gardener, not greatly liked (in my opinion the best kind of victim as no energy is wasted mourning his loss) who was cut down in a customer’s garden with his own scythe. The case has come to the attention of Hannah Scarlett’s cold case team courtesy of an anonymous letter pointing the finger firmly towards his widow, Tina. But Daniel Kind is also seeking to find out whether there is a cipher in his garden and if so what does it reveal? This involves digging around in a different section of the past that the locals would equally like to be forgotten, but why?

Hannah Scarlett who is still not overjoyed to be heading up the ‘Cold Cases’ team, she would prefer to have been in the thick of the ongoing investigations, calls up the old files and is somewhat heartened to see the original investigation was led by one of life’s lazier policemen. It soon becomes very clear that there were a few likely suspects but in the absence of any real ‘hard-graft’ whoever it was has escaped justice for many years!
There is a proper mystery at the core of this book involving the brutal murder of Warren Howe and then there is the everyday lives of those investigating it but this is perfectly balanced with the lives of Martin Edwards’ chief protagonists Hannah Scarlett and Daniel Kind. In other words there is plenty to keep the reader entertained when the inevitable dead ends are reached.

I am really enjoying my crime fiction reads which have more of a classical feel to them, this isn’t a thriller, so the pace while never slow, is not so fast that everything passes in a blur until the inevitable confrontation. No this is a book that relies on a good plot and interesting characters to keep its reader’s interested. The characters are all exceptionally well-drawn from the teenage daughter of the dead man to the new husband of his widow, they all feel read by having a mixture of characteristics rather than cardboard cut outs waiting for their part in the plot. That said, there are a fair few of these characters to get to grips with and placing them, particularly if you haven’t read the first book, may cause a little consternation but not for long!

There is something I find very appealing about the small town setting and getting to know the inhabitants and the way they tick is at the root of the enjoyment, especially as they have all known each other for years and know where ‘the bodies are buried.’ This adds to the intrigue as Daniel Kind and Hannah Scarlett use very different techniques to get them to reveal the facts and although I had a fairly good idea before the reveal, I’m pleased to report that there was one secret I simply didn’t anticipate.

The Cipher Garden is the third of my Mount TBR reads (books I own and were purchased before 31 December 2016), so I’m bang on target so far but since there are another five books to read in this series, I’m not entirely sure that this is actually helping reduce the TBR, You can be sure I’ll have bought at least one more before the year is out!

mount-tbr-2017

 

First Published UK: 2005
Publisher: Allison & Busby
No of Pages:  352
Genre: Crime Fiction Series – Police Procedural
Amazon UK
Amazon US

The Lake District Mystery Series

The Coffin Trail (2004)
The Cipher Garden (2005)
The Arsenic Labyrinth (2007)
The Serpent Pool (2010)
The Hanging Wood (2011)
The Frozen Shroud (2013)
The Dungeon House (2015)

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 18)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lipsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

My current read is one for my Mount TBR challenge The Cipher Garden by Martin Edwards the second in the Lake District Mystery series. I purchased this one in  December 2015 and having really enjoyed the first in this series, The Coffin Trail, last month I think I’m in for a treat.

The Cipher Garden

Blurb

I thought you were dead…’
In the peaceful village of Old Sawrey, in the idyllic Lake District, Warren Howe is brutally slaughtered with his own scythe by a mysterious hooded figure. The police have several suspects, but there is insufficient evidence to make an arrest.
Years later an anonymous tip-off sparks the interest of DCI Hannah Scarlett, who heads the local Cold Case Review Team. With the help of historian Daniel Kind, Hannah digs deeper in the quest for truth and discovers that, in Old Sawrey, old sins cast long shadows. Following the killer’s trail, Hannah arrives at a shocking conclusion, one that will change lives forever. Amazon

I have just finished the excellent, gripping, page-turning extravaganza which was Her Husband’s Lover by Julia Crouch – my proper review will follow shortly!

her-husbands-lover

Please see yesterday’s post for an excerpt and the synopsis.

Next up is a book which has caused great interest amongst the early readers on twitter; Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough and comes complete with the hashtag #WTFthatending

behind-her-eyes

Blurb

Only two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

David and Adele seem like the ideal pair. He’s a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden?

As Louise, David’s new secretary, is drawn into their orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong–and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets. NetGalley

So that’s what I’m reading this week – what have you chosen? Do let me know in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (December 19)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

Mindful of the TBR, and you can see quite how bad this is in this post, I have only added a few quite a few books to my pile in the last two weeks but I think they are good ones, what do you think?

From the publisher MIRA I have a copy of Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris which will be published on 11 February 2016

Behind Closed Doors

Blurb

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.
He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.
Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie. Goodreads

Then I saw that two of the Lake District Mysteries written by Martin Edwards were on special offer on the kindle. Having vowed to read more by this talented author after enjoying Dancing for the Hangman plus a very enticing review of his latest, The Dungeon House by Fiction Fan’s blog and a short story in An Anthology of Murder I would have been silly to ignore this – the first The Coffin Trail wasn’t on offer but I need to start at the beginning so I have this one…

The Coffin Trail

Blurb

Oxford historian Daniel Kind and his partner Miranda both want to escape to a new life. On impulse they buy a cottage in Brackdale, an idyllic valley in the Lake District. But though they hope to live the dream, the past soon catches up with them. Goodreads

and… The Cipher Garden (Lake District Mysteries #2)

The Cipher Garden

Blurb

Warren Howe is surprised by a hooded visitor whilst working in a garden in Old Sawrey. Soon he is dead – murdered with his own scythe. As the years pass, the culprit has yet to be found. However, after an anonymous tip-off, DCI Hannah Scarlett is soon on the case. Then there is yet another horrifying death.

From NetGalley I have a copy of The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths, book eight in the Ruth Galloway series; The Woman in Blue will be published on 4 February 2016.

The Woman in Blue

Blurb

Forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway returns in a new thrilling mystery from the best-selling Elly Griffiths.
The murder of women priests in the shrine town of Walsingham sucks Dr Ruth Galloway into an unholy investigation.
When Ruth’s friend Cathbad sees a vision of the Virgin Mary, in a white gown and blue cloak, in the graveyard next to the cottage he is house-sitting, he takes it in his stride. Walsingham has strong connections to Mary, and Cathbad is a druid after all; visions come with the job. But when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch, it is clear Cathbad’s vision was all too human, and that a horrible crime has been committed. DCI Nelson and his team are called in for the murder investigation, and soon establish that the dead woman was a recovering addict being treated at a nearby private hospital.
Ruth, a devout atheist, has managed to avoid Walsingham during her seventeen years in Norfolk. But then an old university friend, Hilary Smithson, asks to meet her in the village, and Ruth is amazed to discover that her friend is now a priest. Hilary has been receiving vitriolic anonymous letters targeting women priests – letters containing references to local archaeology and a striking phrase about a woman ‘clad in blue, weeping for the world’.
Then another woman is murdered – a priest.
As Walsingham prepares for its annual Easter re-enactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before they strike again… NetGalley

Back in 2012 I read Cambridge Blue by Alison Bruce and she was put on my ‘must read more of’ list and indeed I have one book on the TBR but then I saw The Promise which is to be published on 4 February 2016 (I now have three books to be reviewed before this date!)

The Promise

Blurb

In a single night, Kyle Davidson’s life is derailed. His relationship is over, he is denied access to his young son and everything important to him is at risk.
His thoughts stumble between fear and revenge. Kyle Davidson has a choice to make.
Meanwhile, after the tragic end to a previous case, DC Gary Goodhew finds himself questioning his reasons for returning to work until the badly beaten body of a homeless man is found on Market Hill. Having known the homeless man for several years Goodhew feels compelled to be part of the investigation – but routine lines of enquiry soon take a dark and unexpected turn.
Suddenly the Cambridge back streets hold deadly secrets for Goodhew and the only person who has the answers is planning one final, desperate act. NetGalley

And I’ve left the best to last – I have a copy of Coffin Road by Peter May. I absolutely adored the Lewis Trilogy so am so looking forward to this one which was sent to me by Midas PR.

Coffin Road

Blurb

A man stands bewildered on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris. He cannot remember who he is. He is physically shaken, borderline hypothermic, and overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty. The only clue to his identity is a folded map of a path named The Coffin Road. He does not know where this search will take him.
A detective from across the border in Lewis sits aboard a boat, filled with doubt. DS George Gunn knows that a bludgeoned corpse has been discovered on a remote rock twenty miles offshore. Though, having grown used to a quiet and predictable routine, he does not know whether he has what it takes to uncover how and why.
A teenage girl lies in her Edinburgh bedroom, desperate to discover the truth about her father. Two years on from the pioneering scientist’s disappearance, Karen Fleming still cannot accept that he would wilfully abandon her, regardless of the extreme pressure placed on him by his research. She does not know his secret. Goodreads

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 5 books, and gained 6, leading to a grand total of 171 books!
83 physical books
72 e-books
16 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?