cover image THE COFFIN TRAIL


Martin Edwards, . . Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (286pp) ISBN 978-1-59058-129-2

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 protégé, 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. Agent, Georges Borchardt. (Oct. 15)

Forecast: Blurbs from such better known British mystery authors as Peter Robinson, Anne Perry and Reginald Hill will cue their fans.