cover image The Arsenic Labyrinth

The Arsenic Labyrinth

Martin Edwards, . . Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (294pp) ISBN 978-1-59058-328-9

Edwards's crisply written third contemporary mystery set in England's Lake District (after 2005's The Cipher Garden ) turns on the unsolved disappearance of Emma Bestwick, a woman who went missing a decade earlier. Guy Koenig, a con man recently released from prison, makes an anonymous phone call about Emma's fate to a local journalist who has just revisited her story. DCI Hannah Scarlett, who headed the original inquiry, now focuses her cold case squad on the matter. The predictable police procedure—reinterviewing relatives and friends of the missing woman—gets underway, making little progress until the police receive a tip as to the location of Emma's body. Edwards injects cryptic excerpts of another murder mystery into the narrative and rounds out the story with hints of a frustrated attraction between Hannah and historian Daniel Kind, whose father, Ben, was her mentor. Though the suspense and resolution of the secondary mystery distract from Emma's story, this is solid fare for fans of modern British police procedurals. (Jan.)