By ScotKris: Martin Edwards returns to his series of Lake District Mysteries with this, the fifth volume, The Hanging Wood.
20 years after Callum Hinds disappeared, presumed dead, and with the suicide of the boy’s uncle days after used as a convenient scapegoat, his sister Orla returns to the area and is determined to have the case re-opened. She tells local historian Daniel Kind that she believes her uncle to be innocent of the crime and he recommends that she contact Hannah Scarlett, who heads up Cumbria Police’s Cold Case unit. However, after two incoherent telephone calls to the Unit, Orla is found dead on her estranged father’s farm, and so begins another beguiling case for Hannah Scarlett and her team.
Whilst Orla’s death is marked as a suicide, the question of ‘why’ remains open; and when another death follows swiftly on, Hannah is left looking for connections between three deaths, 20 years apart.
Martin Edwards’ use of landscape and character to bewitchingly build the tension is always evident in this series, which itself is a rarity for being known by its location, as opposed to its lead characters. This allows for scope and the opportunity to introduce new characters to move each story forward and develop the series as a whole. Small communities may be a hive of hidden tension but Edwards makes it all so believable while never over-dramatising, and The Hanging Wood comes as a highly recommended novel of suspense.
The novel is available in hardback and for the Kindle at Amazon.
Find out more about the novel at Allison & Busby and the author’s site as well as read Martin’s informative blog here.
November is certainly a month for Austenites who also love a bit of intrigue and murder. By far, the most trumpeted novel is Death Comes to Pemberley from P D James, taking the characters of Pride and Prejudice into a new story. However, there is another novel awaiting your delectation, one that is the Welsh Books Council’s Book of the Month for November, and it concerns the life – or death, to be more precise – of Jane Austen herself: The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen by Lindsay Ashford. Austen’s tragically early death has long been the subject of speculation. One theory is that she died of Addison’s disease, although as recently as 2009 the theory was put forward that tuberculosis was the cause.
Lindsay Ashford, an author of contemporary crime thriller novels, moved to Chawton three years ago. At Chawton, she soon found her plans of writing another such novel dashed as she became inspired by her surroundings and her research in the library. When she organised a short story competition on behalf Chawton House Library, the American winner asked her if she had seen the lock of Austen’s hair at the museum. It transpired that the winner had known the couple who donated it; between buying it at auction at Sotheby’s and donating it to the museum, they had had the hair tested for arsenic. The positive result could only lead to the conclusion that Austen had ingested the poison in the months before her death. But was this an accident, foul play or possibly even murder? Armed with this knowledge, Ashford’s reading of the family letters took on another dimension. The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen is a product of this reading and research, and is a work of fiction. Continue reading