27 June 2013

Review: THE FROZEN SHROUD, Martin Edwards

  • Published by Poisoned Pen Press 2013
  • ISBN 978-1-4642-0105-9
  • 276 pages
  • #6 in the Lake District (Hannah Scarlett and Daniel Kind) series
 Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

Death has come twice to Ravenbank, a remote community in England's Lake District, each time on Halloween. Just before the First World War, a young woman's corpse was found, with a makeshift shroud frozen to her battered face. Her ghost - the Faceless Woman - is said to walk through Ravenbank on Halloween. Five years ago, another woman, Katya Moss, was murdered, and again her face was covered to hide her injuries.

Daniel Kind, a specialist in the history of murder, becomes fascinated by the old cases, and wonders whether the obvious suspects really did commit the crimes. He spends Hallowe'en at a party in Ravenbank - only to find death returning to this beautiful but isolated spot. Once more, the victim is a woman, once more her damaged face is shrouded from view.

My Take

The blurb from Fantastic Fiction is very similar to the one on the dustjacket of  the book. Both show evidence that the author changed his mind about the name of one of the characters - in the book Katya Moss is actually called Sheenagh.

There are three murder victims - Gertrude the original Faceless Woman, Sheenagh the next one, and then five years later, another. All are murdered on Halloween and the author exploits other similarities in the cases. For DCI Hannah Scarlett the coincidences are just too great, and she wonders whether the same person is responsible for at least the two most recent murders. Daniel Kind though is interested in the historic cold case of the death of Gertrude.

Martin Edwards is an accomplished storyteller and keeps the readers on their toes with coincidences and red herrings. It is a book that makes you think as you weigh up the evidence for yourself.

Running through the background is the on-again off-again relationship between the detective Hannah and the historian Daniel. And almost a character is a sensitive portrayal of the Lake District. Many thanks too to Martin for his acknowledgment at the end of the book of the small amount of information I was able to contribute about Sheenagh's possible Australian background.

My rating: 4.6

Do check
Lake District Mystery (Fantastic Fiction)
1. The Coffin Trail (2004)
2. The Cipher Garden (2005)
3. The Arsenic Labyrinth (2007)
4. The Serpent Pool (2010)
5. The Hanging Wood (2011)
6. The Frozen Shroud (2013)

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1 comment:

skiourophile said...

I'm getting behind with this series - the settings are so lovely, aren't they? And how nice to get a mention!


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