Daniel Kind and his girlfriend Miranda are up to a new beginning. On impulse Miranda has convinced Daniel to sell everything and move into Tarn Cottage to make a fresh start together in rural Cumbria. But seven years ago a young woman tourist was savagely murdered in that quiet and lovely place. Although this is now water under the bridge, Daniel can’t get it out of his mind. He, of all people, knows the consequences of the past.
As a boy Daniel made friends with Barrie Gilpin a thirteen-year-old chap who was suffering from a mild form of autism. At that time Barrie was living at Tarn Cottage with his mother. Years later he became the prime suspect of murdering the young woman. His body was found not far from the victim’s. Barrie died after falling into a ravine. The case never went to court. Daniel couldn’t believe his friend was capable of murdering anyone. He starts to ask questions only to find out that everyone has something to hide.
At the same time DCI Hannah Scarlett is also up to a new start in the Cumbria Constabulary. She has just been appointed head of the newly created Cold Case Team set up to investigate unsolved murders. Soon Hannah together with Daniel will put their lives at risk in search of a ruthless murderer who is prepared to kill again to hide a shocking secret.
I’ve had a great time with this nicely written book. The plot is very attractive and it has a clever turn near to the end, enough to keep my interest alive until the very last page. Also the two main characters have been a very fortunate choice in my opinion. But if I have to highlight something in particular this will be the setting and the atmosphere that Martin Edwards is able to build in this novel. A highly recommended read. I look forward to read at least the rest of his books in this series.
Martin Edwards is an award-winning British crime writer whose fourth and most recent Lake District Mystery, featuring DCI Hannah Scarlett and Daniel Kind, is The Serpent Pool, published in February 2010. Earlier books in the series are The Coffin Trail (short-listed for the Theakston’s prize for best British crime novel of 2006), The Cipher Garden and The Arsenic Labyrinth (short-listed for the Lakeland Book of the Year award in 2008). He has written eight novels about lawyer Harry Devlin, the first of which, All the Lonely People, was short-listed for the CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger for the best first crime novel of the year. In addition he has written a stand-alone novel of psychological suspense, Take My Breath Away, and a much acclaimed novel featuring Dr Crippen, Dancing for the Hangman. The latest Devlin novel, Waterloo Sunset, appeared in 2008. He completed Bill Knox’s last book, The Lazarus Widow. He has published a collection of short stories, Where Do You Find Your Ideas? and other stories; ‘Test Drive’ was short-listed for the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2006, while ‘The Bookbinder’s Apprentice’ won the same Dagger in 2008. A well-known commentator on crime fiction, he has edited 16 anthologies and published eight non-fiction books, including a study of homicide investigation, Urge to Kill. In 2008 he was elected to membership of the prestigious Detection Club.
The Coffin Trail has been reviewed by Maxine at Euro Crime, Bernadette at Reactions to Reading, Dorte at DJS Krimiblog.
The Coffin Trail, the first book in Martin Edwards’ Lake District series, made its way to the top of my TBR pile as soon as I decided to read more British authors and books this year. Reason why I’ve joined the Typically British Reading Challenge 2010 hosted by Book Chick City. This is the first book I’ve read for this challenge.
Read an interview with Martin Edwards at Crime Watch and at Scene of the Crime
Martin Edwards’ Blog ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’
The Martin Edwards Column at Bookdagger
Author: Martin Edwards
Title: The Coffin Trail (2004)
Publisher: Allison & Busby 2005
Number of pages: 304