Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Book review : The Coffin Trail - Martin Edwards


The Coffin Trail is the first book in The Lake District Mysteries series by Martin Edwards. We are given a good introduction to the main characters in the stories (notably Daniel Kind and DCI Hannah Scarlett) and the ever-present Cumbrian setting almost starts to feel like another character, watching over the events unfolding in her midst. As well as magnificent views of mountainsides, green hills and clear, blue lakes, this location provides close-knit communities, with everyone living in each other's pockets, sneering at the tourists and those who have only just moved to the area. 

Daniel Kind is one such newcomer. An Oxford historian and TV personality, he is visiting the Lake District with his girlfriend Miranda, a lifestyle writer for the glossy magazines. On a whim, they end up buying Tarn Cottage in Brackdale, a secluded valley which offers them the chance to get away from it all - a welcome break from their busy lives in Oxford and London. But Daniel has failed to mention that he has deeper ties to this area. As a boy, he came here on holiday with his father and befriended a local boy, Barrie Gilpin. Barrie was a bit of a loner and had some learning difficulties but the boys shared some fun times in the hills. Then a local woman was found murdered and Barrie's dead body was discovered nearby. With all the ends nicely tied up, nobody bothered digging any deeper, but Daniel is determined that his old friend would not have carried out such a dastardly crime.

DCI Hannah Scarlett has just been put in charge of a new cold case review team. One of the cases that her team start to take a new look at is this old murder up on the Altar Stone. An anonymous phone call suggests that there is more to discover so the team start to re-interview the locals, which ruffles a few feathers.

While Daniel is hoping to clear his old friend's name, he also wants to uncover tales of his long-absent and now dead father - a policeman who used to work with DCI Scarlett. The two get in touch with each other and, separately, start chasing the truth about what happened on that fateful night.

I've never been to the Lake District but, as I read, I could really imagine the muddy paths and misty hillsides with views stretching out as far as the eye can see. Things have been majorly hectic at work lately and sitting down to read a few chapters each evening gave me a welcome break and a feeling of getting out in the fresh air (much appreciated during lockdown !). I enjoyed all the interplay between the characters and watching their personal lives slowly being revealed. I failed to predict the wrongdoer and even at the last moment, there was a final twist in the tail.

It's a fairly sedate read that is not big on blood and guts so even the faint-hearted won't be offended reading it. I had a slight inkling that the characters' names rang a bell and, after checking, I've just discovered that I read and reviewed The Frozen Shroud, the sixth book in the series, a year and a half ago. I've just started book two, The Cipher Garden, so look out for that review some time soon.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £8.99

  • ASIN : 0749082917
  • Publisher : Allison & Busby; UK ed. edition (31 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: : English
  • Paperback : 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9780749082918
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0749082918

1 comment:

  1. I do love the sound of this book! The whole setting appeals to me. Will be adding it to my ever growing TBR list. :)


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