The Serpent Pool, and its forthcoming publication, were far from my mind over the weekend, as I cleared the last possessions from my mother’s home, and then set about trying to find a good place where she can be cared for in future. All very, very thought-provoking, but as if to remind me that Life Must Go On, I have been lucky enough to receive quite marvellous reviews of the new book on both sides of the Atlantic - and in major newspapers.
Here’s what Laura Wilson has to say in The Guardian:
‘On the face of it, the Lake District couldn't be more different from the frantic, grasping shallowness of [London], but in Martin Edwards's capable hands, it proves just as effective a backdrop to murder. Local "cold case" specialist DCI Hannah Scarlett is tasked with uncovering the truth behind a young woman's apparent suicide by drowning. Naturally there's more to it than meets the eye, and it soon becomes clear that the death is connected to some recent murders. With evocative descriptions of everything from landscape to cocktail parties, expert plotting, an engaging protagonist and strongly delineated characters, The Serpent Pool is old-fashioned, well-made crime fiction at its best, and the dénouement will have you choking on your Kendal mint cake.’
In The Denver Post, Tom and Enid Schantz said:
‘For whatever reason, it's taken a small press to publish this outstanding series of English traditional mysteries in the United States. All feature DCI Hannah Scarlett, a cold- case investigator, and Oxford historian Daniel Kind, whose policeman father was Hannah's mentor.
The setting is England's beautiful (but gloomy) Lake District, where both live and work. Like its predecessors, this one has a wonderfully convoluted plot, further complicated by a subtle chemistry between Hannah and Daniel that neither is ready to acknowledge.
In their fourth outing, the relationship between Hannah and Daniel continues to slowly progress, with Hannah now having problems with her live-in bookseller boyfriend Marc Amos and her insolent new junior officer and Daniel, now unencumbered, writing a biography of the opium-addicted 19th century writer Thomas De Quincey.
A cold case that Hannah is working on, the drowning of a young woman in the Serpent Pool near her home, seems to be connected to two more recent murders, and she thinks it's no coincidence that all three victims died in the exact way that would have been the most terrifying for each of them, and that all three cases have a rare-book connection that could disturbingly point to Marc.
Character, atmosphere, plot and pace — this series has it all, and fans of Stephen Booth and Peter Robinson would do well to check it out.’