The Cipher Garden by Martin Edwards
'I thought you were dead - ' In the peaceful village of Old Sawrey, in the idyllic Lake District, Warren Howe is brutally slaughtered with his own scythe by a mysterious hooded figure. The police have several suspects, but there is insufficient evidence to make an arrest. Years later an anonymous tip-off sparks the interest of DCI Hannah Scarlett, who heads the local Cold Case Review Team. With the help of historian Daniel Kind, Hannah digs deeper in the quest for truth and discovers that, in Old Sawrey, old sins cast long shadows. Following the killer's trail, Hannah arrives at a shocking conclusion, one that will change lives forever.
About Martin Edwards
Martin Edwards’ latest novel, Gallows Court, was published in September. He is consultant to the British Library’s Crime Classics series, and has written sixteen contemporary whodunits, including The Coffin Trail, which was shortlisted for the Theakston’s Prize for best crime novel of the year. His genre study The Golden Age of Murder won the Edgar, Agatha, H.R.F. Keating and Macavity awards, while The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books has been nominated for two awards in the UK and three in the US. Editor of 38 anthologies, he has also won the CWA Short Story Dagger and the CWA Margery Allingham Prize, and been nominated for an Anthony, the CWA Dagger in the Library, the CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger, and a CWA Gold Dagger. He is President of the Detection Club and Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, and Archivist of both organisations. He has received the Red Herring award for services to the CWA, and the Poirot award for his outstanding contribution to the crime genre.
I enjoyed reading this book during our current hot summer heatwave whilst out in the garden. The beautifully written prose gave me a great sense of place with its descriptions of a fictitious part of the Lake District which, coincidentally is also set during a long hot summer. I enjoyed reading the complexity of the relationships the characters had with each other, within a small community where extramarital affairs appeared to be commonplace. The affected couples all had one common denominator, murder victim Warren Howe, a gardener who was hacked to death with his own scythe. The case was never solved and was reopened by DCI Hannah Scarlett and her cold-case team of investigators, after a recent anonymous tip-off. The problem was that so many people had good reason to kill Warren Hope. I was not disappointed with the end, which held some good surprises. This is an excellent novel in the crime genre which I highly recommend.