Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Hanging Wood by Martin Edwards

Synopsis :

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, who never believed in their uncle's guilt, has returned to the Lakes, and taken up a job in an atmospheric residential library, close to her father's farm, the upmarket caravan park where her step father works, and the Hanging Wood. She wants to find the truth about Callum's disappearance, and-at the prompting of Daniel Kind-tries to interest DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of Cumbria's Cold Case Review Team, in the case. Hannah is reluctant, leading Orla to demand whether she cares about justice. Hannah does care, and when Orla dies in strange and shocking circumstances, she determines to find the truth about what happened to Callum-and to Orla.

Hannah's investigation brings her back into contact with Daniel, while she tries to resolve her troubled relationship with bookseller Marc Amos. But their personal lives have to be put on hold when another death occurs, and Hannah finds herself racing against time to prevent a shocking murder as the past casts long shadows on the sunlit landscape of the Lakes.

The Hanging Wood is a pure English murder mystery book. I was captivated by the mysterious and eerie cover of a shadow of a girl on water. The synopsis also sounds quite promising. For some reason, after I’ve finished reading the book and even when I was reading it, I kept on thinking how similar this is to Midsomer Mystery Murder Series that I used to watch on TV and to me, DCI Hannah is more like a female version of Inspector Barnaby. The landscape is somehow similar – English countryside, a few murders, a hint of who the suspects are, a hint of romance between the lead characters, a possible scandal and shocking reveal of who the murderer is or murderers are.

I enjoyed the book to a certain extend but find that it lacks certain excitement. Perhaps reading it in digital format in its entirety does contribute to the fact that I took my time with it. I normally read to relax and staring at the PC is somehow not relaxing for me. It took me more than two month to read this 250+ pages. There’s a lot of first for me in reading this. This is my first review of a book read in its entirety in digital format. This is my first time reading and reviewing a Martin Edwards’s book. This is also my first review for Classified under the Lake District Mystery Series, The Hanging Wood will be published by Poisoned Pen Press in April 2011.

Martin Edwards is a British lawyer and is an award-winning author of fourteen other titles. His website is and he also blogs at He currently lives in England.

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