Monday, February 22, 2010

Mystery Book Review: The Serpent Pool by Martin Edwards

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Serpent Pool by Martin Edwards. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Serpent Pool by Martin Edwards

A Lake District Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-593-3 (1590585933)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-593-1 (9781590585931)
Publication Date: February 2010
List Price: $24.95

Review: DCI Hannah Scarlett and her former boss Daniel Kind must work together when a cold case intersects with a current one in The Serpent Pool, the fourth Lake District mystery by Martin Edwards.

Aspiring writer Bethany Friend drowned in Serpent Pool six years ago. The cause of death was never explained, accidental or intentional, with the coroner recording it as an "open verdict". As head of the Cold Case Review Team, Hannah wants to reopen the case. But before she can do so, George Saffell, a rare book collector dies in a blazing fire on his boat where he shelved his extensive collection of first editions. Was it suicide ... or murder?

Hannah is currently living with Marc Amos, a seller of rare books, who had sold many editions to the dead man and his business partner, Stuart Wagg. Complicating matters just a bit is that Stuart is living with Daniel Kind's sister, who claims the partners had recently been arguing. Daniel calls on Hannah to help find Stuart, who has inexplicably gone missing. Also in this tangled weave of characters is Hannah's new sergeant, Greg Wharf, who is spending a lot of time with her on casework causing Marc to turn to his assistant, Cassie, for comfort and understanding.

The Serpent Pool is a superb mystery, from both a plot, replete with classical literary references, and stylistic perspective. The characters are delightful and well drawn, the Lake District setting beautiful and charming. Even the various romantic elements, including those simmering just beneath the surface, play an important role here. As dark and disturbing secrets come to light, answers to questions of murder or suicide, past and present, are finally established in the thrilling conclusion to this exciting suspense novel.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Serpent Pool and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): DCI Hannah Scarlett is determined to uncover the truth behind Bethany Friend’s mysterious drowning in the Serpent Pool. But Hannah’s distracted by a new sergeant with a troublesome reputation, a new house, and new cause to doubt her partner--second hand bookseller Marc Amos. One of Marc’s best customers has been burned to death in the converted boathouse filled with priceless books. Then Hannah meets Louise Kind, sister of the historian Daniel Kind, who has just returned from America to work on a book about Thomas De Quincey and the history of murder. How are all of these elements related?

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