Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Coffin Trail – Martin Edwards

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

I have finally started Martin Edwards’ famed Lake District Mystery series with The Coffin Trail, the first in the series. The title has been chosen for the name given to the tracks which were used to transport bodies from the remote village to one with a graveyard. The symbolism of bodies being strapped to the horses for their final journey is one that resonates throughout this book.

As the book opens we meet Daniel Heard and his girlfriend Miranda buying Tarn Cottage in the fictional village of Brackdale on a whim while visiting the area for a short break. Daniel has tired in his role at Oxford University but it is Miranda who is the driving force behind the move, after all as a freelance journalist she can submit her copy from anywhere. Daniel has visited the area before, the last holiday before his policeman father left home to be with another woman and while there he met, and became friends with, Barrie Gilpin who lived in Tarn Cottage. The cottage is being sold for a song because Barrie Gilpin was widely suspected by police and villagers alike to have murdered a young woman. He died of an accident before the murder was discovered and his poor mother was shunned by the locals.

Meanwhile DI Hannah Scarlett is wondering if she can get her career back on track after a disastrous collapse of a trial compounded by even more disastrous public relations. She finds herself leading a new team set up to examine whether advances in forensics can solve any of the old cases. With a retired detective to assist and her trusty partner they begin leafing through the old files.
As Daniel probes the villager’s memories about Barrie, treating this personal quest he begins to ruffle a few feathers to say the least and Miranda is none too pleased. With some loose ends to tie up about his father, who died without Daniel ever making peace, who was on the original investigation the claustrophobic nature of life in a remote village becomes ever more apparent.

I enjoyed The Coffin Trail which was first published in 2004 for being a ‘real’ police procedural series. There were no clever tricks but straightforward investigations by both Daniel and Hannah Scarlet into what happened to the young woman who was laid out on Sacrifice Stone, it can’t be accidental that this was the place for pagan rituals. There are lots of characters within this book and of course being the first in the series, more time is spent giving these a background to be built on later, this gave the first section of the book quite a slow feel, but with solid writing and the fabulous scenery that Martin Edwards captures, keeping me entertained, I certainly didn’t have a chance to become bored.

Once the investigation gets underway it appears that the crux of the matter is going to be examining those old alibis rather than the more straightforward DNA results that DI Hannah Scarlett’s bosses were hoping for. And we all know what that means, yes my favourite, old secrets and lies will be exposed! There is no doubt at all that plenty of skeletons, of the kind that hide in cupboards, are rattled. As secret after secret is revealed the inhabitants of Brackdale will most likely never be the same again.

After really enjoying the characters of historian Daniel Head and the fairly level-headed and yet not to be pushed around, DI Hannah Scarlett I am now looking forward to reading the second in this series, The Cipher Garden which fortunately already resides on my kindle! I have a feeling this is a series I can trust to give me a solid mystery in a straightforward style relying on the writing alone to be the entertainment.

First Published UK: 1 July 2004
Publisher: Allison & Busby
No of Pages: 228
Genre: Crime Fiction – Police Procedural
Amazon UK
Amazon US

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?