The Frozen Shroud by Martin Edwards

The Frozen Shroud is the sixth book in Martin Edwards’s Lake District Mystery series. I’ve enjoyed the previous five, featuring historian Daniel Kind and DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of the Cold Case Review Team and this one is no exception; it kept me guessing almost to the end.

The Frozen Shroud begins at Halloween in Ravenbank, an isolated community on the shores of Ullswater. At Ravenbank Hall, Miriam Park tells Shenagh Moss the ghost story of the Faceless Woman, Gertrude Smith who was murdered on Hallowe’en, just before the First World War. She was found, battered to death, her face reduced to a pulp and covered with a woollen blanket like a shroud. Her murderer wasn’t hanged and the story goes that her tormented spirit walks down Ravenbank Lane on Hallowe’en. Later that night Shenagh goes missing and is found, battered to death and with her face covered by a rough woollen blanket.

Five years later, Daniel Kind sets out to discover more about Gertrude Smith’s murder when a third murder occurs on Hallowe’en; another young woman with her face shrouded from view. This time it’s Hannah’s best friend Terri Poynton, who was at a Hallowe’en party at the Hall.  Is it the same killer or a copycat murder?  DCI Fern Larter investigates this latest murder and because it looks as though there are connections with Shenagh’s murder, Hannah reopens that case. She and Daniel work together once more to discover the truth.

In Martin Edward’s books, the characters are all so alive, the settings so vividly described and the plots so intricate and compelling. I love all the historical and literary references he uses, weaving them seamlessly into the books, and then there is the ongoing friendship between Daniel and Hannah – both Daniel’s sister and Hannah’s friends keep insisting they’re right for each other.

I think each book can be read on its own, but it helps to fully understand the characters’ relationships if you read them in order. The earlier books are as follows (linked to 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)

The Frozen Shroud is available in the USA in both hardback and paperback, published by Poisoned Pen Press. I received my copy from Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity.

In the UK the hardback, published by Allison & Busby will be released in June this year.

crime_fiction_alphabetThis is my contribution to Kerrie’s Crime Fiction Alphabet 2013 for the letter F. To take part your post MUST be related to either the first letter of a book’s title, the first letter of an author’s first name, or the first letter of the author’s surname, or even maybe a crime fiction “topic”. But above all, it has to be crime fiction.

I’ve taken part in all of Kerrie’s previous Crime Fiction Alphabets but this is my first one for this series. I decided to contribute when the books I’ve read or am reading coincide with the letter of the week. Actually this book could equally as well be for the letter E too.