After ten years, Guy-a drifter with a taste for deception-has returned to Coniston in England's Lake District. Local journalist Tony di Venuto is campaigning to revive interest in the disappearance of Emma Bestwick. Guy knows what happened to her. He tips off Tony that Emma will not return. DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of Cumbria's Cold Case Review Team, re-opens the old investigation. Her inquiries take her to the Museum of Myth and Legend and to the remote and eerie Arsenic Labyrinth-a series of stone tunnels used to remove arsenic from tin ore. A shocking discovery makes it clear to Hannah that there is more than one mystery to solve.... Martin Edwards has published three Lake District Mysteries: The Coffin Trail, The Cipher Garden, and now The Arsenic Labyrinth. He writes a regular column for Sherlock magazine and is the author of seven non-fiction books. www.martinedwardsbooks.com
Edwards's crisply written third contemporary mystery set in England's Lake District (after 2005's The Cipher Garden) turns on the unsolved disappearance of Emma Bestwick, a woman who went missing a decade earlier. Guy Koenig, a con man recently released from prison, makes an anonymous phone call about Emma's fate to a local journalist who has just revisited her story. DCI Hannah Scarlett, who headed the original inquiry, now focuses her cold case squad on the matter. The predictable police procedure--reinterviewing relatives and friends of the missing woman--gets underway, making little progress until the police receive a tip as to the location of Emma's body. Edwards injects cryptic excerpts of another murder mystery into the narrative and rounds out the story with hints of a frustrated attraction between Hannah and historian Daniel Kind, whose father, Ben, was her mentor. Though the suspense and resolution of the secondary mystery distract from Emma's story, this is solid fare for fans of modern British police procedurals. (Jan.)
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Poisoned Pen Press
January 14, 2007
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