Monday, May 15, 2017

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: The Coffin Trail by Martin Edwards

The Coffin Trail by Martin Edwards (Poisoned Pen Press, October 2004) is the first book in the author’s Lake District mystery series, which now has seven titles. He has also written eight mysteries featuring lawyer Harry Devlin. Edwards is perhaps better known as a crime fiction critic and anthologist, which is unfortunate, because his mysteries are fine reads. 

Daniel Kind, an Oxford historian, visits a childhood vacation spot in England’s scenic Lake District with his new lover Miranda, where they impulsively buy a run-down home and decide to leave their urban lives to start over. Part of his interest in the village is in clearing the name of a local youth he’d been friends with during the long-ago holiday and who since then had been unofficially blamed for the gruesome murder of a tourist. About the same time DCI Hannah Scarlett of the local police force is assigned to clear up a number of cold cases, including this one. DCI Scarlett carries out her official investigation in parallel with Kind’s informal questioning of the long-time residents, both of which upset a lot of people for different reasons. They each gather essential clues that eventually they jointly assemble into a resolution that has a further twist at the very end.

Kind serves as tour guide to Miranda, in between wrangling with the local contractors they have hired to renovate the house, which allows the story to showcase the geographical features of the Lake District.  Setting is sometimes referred to as an additional character in a story; in this one the rich descriptions of the region’s hills and landmarks nearly elbow everyone else off the page.

This book was nominated for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival’s prize for best British crime novel of 2006.

  • Series: Lake District Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2004)
  • ISBN-10: 1590581296 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590581292

Aubrey Hamilton © 2017

Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal IT projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

1 comment:

Amy Reade said...

You've convinced me to buy the book. I have long learned to know more about the Lake District and hope to visit the area someday. The story sounds fascinating. Thanks for the introduction.