What is meant as a fresh start in the English Lakes District begins to reek of buried secrets....
Oxford historian and TV personality Daniel Kind and his new lover, Miranda, both want to escape to a new life. On impulse they buy Tarn Cottage in Brackdale, an idyllic valley in the Lake District that Daniel knew as a boy. He is still fascinated by a place so remote that the dead had to be carried out over the peaks on pack animals along the ancient Coffin Trail. But though the couple hope to live the dream of downsizing, the past has a way of catching up.
Tarn Cottage was once home to Barrie Gilpin, an autistic youth suspected of a savage murder-what looks like the ritualistic killing of a young woman visitor to the valley. She was found laid out on the Sacrifice Stone, an ancient pagan site up on the fell. Barrie fell to his death near the crime scene before he could be questioned. All these years later, Daniel retains his belief in Barrie's innocence and questions his own policeman father's handling of the case. When DCI Hannah Scarlett and her squad launch a cold case review, Brackdale's skeletons begin to rattle&.
The wild geography of the Lakes District plays against local literary references, all backdrop to the lives of villagers and outsiders drawn to this beautiful spot - but for what reasons? The Coffin Trail launches a new series by a master British hand.
In this well-crafted whodunit from veteran British crime writer Edwards (All the Lonely People), Daniel Kind, a popular historian best known for a TV series that tries to solve historical mysteries using classic Holmesian deductive methods, decides to retreat from Oxford academia with his new love, Miranda. By chance, Miranda falls for a cottage in the Lake District that had once been the home of Kind's late friend Barrie Gilpin, a young sufferer of Asperger's syndrome. Gilpin was suspected of the gory ritualistic murder of an attractive woman on the Sacrifice Stone, a local landmark, but fell to his death before the police could question him. By yet another coincidence, Kind's late father was the senior investigating officer involved. Thanks to an anonymous informant, the father's prot�g�, DCI Hannah Scarlett, is about to reopen the old case. The renewed inquiry stirs up a hornet's nest and foments resentment toward Kind, whose amateur sleuthing is aimed at exonerating Gilpin. Despite the implausible setup and thin characterizations, Edwards's book is an interesting fair-play puzzler that will engage fans who like their contemporary crime in an English village setting.
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Poisoned Pen Press
April 17, 2007
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