cover image The Cipher Garden

The Cipher Garden

Martin Edwards, . . Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (266pp) ISBN 978-1-59058-206-0

When the body of Warren Howe, master landscaper and equally masterful ladies' man, is found hacked apart with a scythe in a garden in Old Sawrey, England, suspicion falls on his wife, Tina, in Edwards's engaging second Lake District mystery (after 2004's The Coffin Trail ). But Tina has an alibi, and the case remains open. Years later, the police receive an anonymous note about Howe's murder, and DCI Hannah Scarlett determines to solve the crime. Is a spurned ex-lover responsible for the brutal killing—or Howe's business partner, eager to have both the landscaping firm and Howe's wife to himself? Or maybe Tina's alibi isn't so unshakeable after all. In her search for answers, Hannah uncovers suicide, incest and illicit affairs. Indeed, Hannah finds her own eye wandering toward Daniel Kind, a noted historian who enjoys sleuthing in his spare time—and Daniel, though ostensibly happily partnered with a charming reporter, returns the affection. Nearly every page yields new revelations in this delectable village caper. Agent, Georges Borchardt. (Nov.)