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The Hanging Wood (Lake District Mysteries) Hardcover – April 5, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'First rate - Edwards writes terrific crime novels' Marcel Berlins, The Guardian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Twenty years ago, a teenage boy, Callum Hinds, went missing in England’s Lake District. His uncle was suspected of having done the boy harm and interviewed by the police. When he committed suicide close to his cottage in the Hanging Wood, everyone assumed it was a sign of guilt. But the body of the boy was never found.
 
Now his sister, Orla Payne  has returned to the Lakes and takes up a job in an atmospheric residential library, close to her father’s farm, the upmarket caravan park, and the Hanging Wood. She wants to find the truth about Callum’s disappearance, and--at the prompting of Daniel Kind--and, in a drunken call, tries to interest DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of Cumbria’s Cold Case Review Team, in the case.
 

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Product Details

  • Series: Lake District Mysteries (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590588525
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590588529
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,714,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Martin Edwards is an award-winning crime writer whose fourth and most recent Lake District Mystery, featuring DCI Hannah Scarlett and Daniel Kind, is The Serpent Pool, published in February 2010. Earlier books in the series are The Coffin Trail (short-listed for the Theakston's prize for best British crime novel of 2006), The Cipher Garden and The Arsenic Labyrinth (short-listed for the Lakeland Book of the Year award in 2008.) He has written eight novels about lawyer Harry Devlin, the first of which, All the Lonely People, was short-listed for the CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger for the best first crime novel of the year. In addition he has written a stand-alone novel of psychological suspense, Take My Breath Away, and a much acclaimed novel featuring Dr Crippen, Dancing for the Hangman. The latest Devlin novel, Waterloo Sunset, appeared in 2008. He completed Bill Knox's last book, The Lazarus Widow. He has published a collection of short stories, Where Do You Find Your Ideas? and other stories; 'Test Drive' was short-listed for the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2006, while 'The Bookbinder's Apprentice' won the same Dagger in 2008. A well-known commentator on crime fiction, he has edited 16 anthologies and published eight non-fiction books, including a study of homicide investigation, Urge to Kill .In 2008 he was elected to membership of the prestigious Detection Club. In his spare time he is a partner in a law firm and blogs daily at 'Do You Write Under Your Own Name?'

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Orla Payne, seemingly a bit whacky (or at least a tad drunk) jumps into a silo in the apparent belief that it will help her solve a mystery. Her body is later found buried in grain. The day before she jumped, Orla begged the Cold Case Review Team at Cumbria Constabulary to investigate the disappearance of Orla's brother, Callum Hinds, twenty years earlier, when Orla was seven and Calum was fourteen. Soon after Calum's disappearance (and the simultaneous disappearance of his uncle's pig), his uncle, Philip Hinds, hung himself in the Hanging Wood, an act widely viewed as an admission of responsibility for Calum's death. Although Philip was the last person known to have seen Calum, no evidence of Philip's role in Calum's disappearance was ever found. Hannah Scarlett of the Cold Case Review Team tackles the mystery with the help of historian Daniel Kind. As the story progresses, another person dies and someone turns up who appears to have a long-lost connection to the Hinds family.

Martin Edwards sets up the usual range of diversionary suspects, giving Scarlett and one of her detectives a chance to muck around in the lives of the upper crust Lake District residents. Some of the people they interview repeat information provided by others; the redundancy tends to slow the narrative flow. In fact, much of the story is carried by exposition and dialog; in the absence of action or significant conflict, the pace lags. If the lives and relationships of the wealthy family members fail to generate much interest, neither does Scarlett's life, despite her continual fretting about her failed marriage and her critical assessment of the men who happen into her gaze.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sah0048 on June 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book! For anyone who enjoys a mystery set in a beautiful location, you will surely love this! In fact, the entire Lake District series is great!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy J. Green on January 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Pretty good story but the author stretched out the action. Every time an event took place we had the different characters sort of chewing over the events. In other words, a little action forward and then lots of rumination about the event that had just taken place. Could use some tighter editing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Hanging Wood" is a contemporary murder mystery set in the Lake District of England. Basically a police procedural by the cold case division of the Cumbria police (DCI Hannah Scarlettt), it is focused on the twenty-year old disappearance of a teenage boy. When the missing boy's sister pushes for a re-look at the case and then turns up dead herself, the case reopens like an extreme version of Pandora's Box as a large, complicated family faces its past with great reluctance and a fair amount of violence.

The book has a reasonably good plot and some interesting, if less than admirable, characters. The pace was a bit slow for me and the sheer volume of family members thrown into the story mix made it difficult to follow at times. This is a well-regarded series, so perhaps there are better episodes to start with? The ending of "The Hanging Wood" strongly suggests that there will be a sequel..
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Format: Paperback
Greg Wharf's evolution is one of the many reasons why I enjoy this Lake District series so much. Edwards' characterizations are layered and as you're drawn into the stories, you come to realize how much you care for these people. Daniel Kind and Hannah Scarlett are made for each other, but they're taking their sweet time in getting together, partly due in fact to Hannah's difficulty in ending her old relationship with bookseller Marc Amos. And Wharf? In so many other series, he would remain forever a "Jack the Lad," but in Edwards' hands-- although he still remains a wolf-- he's a wolf with surprising depth to his character. Methinks he's going to play a larger part in books to come, and I'm looking forward to the developments.

The Hanging Wood is a bit of a locked room mystery even though nothing of import actually takes place behind a closed door. It's the entire location that's locked down to outsiders. St. Herbert's Library, Mockbeggar Hall, the Hanging Wood, Lane End Farm, and the upscale caravan park all seem to form a little world, and when one of the characters states that not even poachers would go into the Hanging Wood, it was my clue that outsiders were not involved. The problem was in ferreting out which insider was responsible.

When Hannah and Greg begin investigating, they find an almost incestuous knot of people living there. Niamh Hinds divorces the farmer to marry someone working at the caravan park. Her son Callum stays with his father while Orla goes with her mother. The farmer's brother lives in the Hanging Wood. The daughter of the man who owned Mockbeggar Hall marries the owner of the caravan park. And so it goes. I actually deduced the identity of the killer before the reveal, but there was no way I could've understood the why of it all.
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Format: Hardcover
Orla is still haunted by the disappearance and probably death of her brother Callum twenty years ago. She has returned to the Lake District after a period of absence and is trying to find out what happened. Callum's disappearance has become a cold case because his uncle committed suicide after he was questioned by the police about the disappearance and it is widely believed his uncle was responsible.

Orla meets historian Daniel Kind, who is also a friend of DCI Hannah Scarlett, the head of a Cold Case Review team. Daniel suggests Orla contacts Hannah which she does but she is unable to explain herself properly because she is drunk. When Orla is found dead Hannah feels guilty because she did not make enough of an effort to understand what Orla was saying to her.

Re-opening the case of Callum's disappearance opens a can of worms for Hannah and for Callum's remaining family members. Feelings are overwhelming and there is danger for Hannah and Daniel as he becomes involved in the case almost against his better judgement. This is the fifth book in Martin Edwards Lake District crime series. I thought the last one Serpent Pool, The (Lake District Mystery) was good but this is just as good, if not better. The writing is crisp and stylish and the tension and atmosphere created are excellent. The Lake District is not just a back drop to the story but also a part of the book in its own right. The lakes and hills and the history of the place brood over it all.

I thought the farm characters were well done as were the businessmen, Bryan, Kit and Gareth with their very different wives and children. I thought Fleur, Bryan's wife, was very well done.
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