Friday, November 28, 2008

Murder in the Lakes

I have just finished reading The Coffin Trail by Martin Edwards. It is very difficult to write about crime fiction without spoiling the book for other potential readers, so I try not to read reviews and I certainly won't be offering one here. What I will say is that I loved it.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I bought four Martin Edwards novels and started to read The Cipher Garden until Nan commented that I should read The Coffin Trail first. This was excellent advice because I now feel I know the characters and their background and I will enjoy the other Lake District stories more because of that.

I am not a regular reader of crime fiction but I do enjoy a well-written, intelligent mystery story, especially if it is set in beautiful surroundings. So I like Colin Dexter, P D James and Ruth Rendell and now Martin Edwards is added to my limited list. Anyone who grew up with the Arthur Ransome stories will love reading these books; I was whisked away to the Lakes and can't wait to pay my next visit when I go back to finish The Cipher Garden tonight.

I am deliberately avoiding reading reviews of the rest of the series of books but I am making the assumption that a tiny area of the Lake District has more than its fair share of murders. I was considering the likelihood of the average person ever encountering a murderer, or being involved in a murder investigation when I recalled the coincidence of the two unrelated murders that took place in South Hill Park, Hampstead in 1955. I visited the Magdala pub, where Ruth Ellis shot David Blakely and discovered that four months earlier Styllou Christofi had murdered her daughter-in-law in a house just a few yards away.

Then I remembered that I have met a convicted murderer and I am a very ordinary person, so perhaps crime writers don't have to stray too far into the world of fantasy for their plots. I'll save that story for another time.


  1. You've met a murderer????? I have to get The Cipher Garden now. He's such a good writer. You might like Peter Robinson's Alan Banks series. I've read a few and really enjoyed his writing. And he wrote the little blurb on the cover of The Coffin Trail!

  2. Not only met but spent a year working with him, Nan. I'll write it up after the weekend. I am going to read the rest of my Martin Edwards books and then perhaps I'll look at the others you suggest. It is difficult choosing between reading and chores right now!

  3. Ooh, reading wins every time over chores!
    Current reading: Judith Lennox, which is as far removed from crime as you can get ... family saga stuff which, in my humble opinion, would benefit by a little pruning, but if her publisher wants a 400+page novel, I suppose that is what she has to deliver. She might even write naturally to this length, but every so often you feel a bit of padding coming on. And then there's a bit of telling-not-showing, so you get the whole of WW2 speeded up so she can get on with something which I think she thinks is more interesting. WW2 served to despatch the husband of one of the characters, which was rather convenient. Ooh, I sound like I'm not enjoying it, when I am! The book: A Step in the Dark.
    Once I've had my fill of romantic saga I shall again dip into crime. Well, in a manner of speaking!
    Margaret Powling


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