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on 27 August 2011
The Hanging Wood is Martin Edwards's 5th Lake District Mystery. I've enjoyed all of them and this is no exception. Historian Daniel Kind is carrying out research at St Herbert's Residential Library where Orla Payne works. She is obsessed by the disappearance of her brother Callum, twenty years earlier when he was a teenager and she was a child of seven. When her uncle was found dead in Hanging Wood, the police assumed he had committed suicide after killing Callum, even though his body was never found. Daniel encourages Orla to speak to DCI Hannah Scarlet, who heads the Cold Case Review Team at Cumbria Constabulary about her brother's disappearance. However, a drunken Orla fails to convince Hannah to reopen the case and it is only after Orla's death that the police decide to review Callum's disappearance. As Hannah tries to discover what happened to Callum, she begins to think their deaths are connected and were not accidental or suicide.

I really enjoyed this book, with its interesting characters and atmospheric Lake District setting. The Hanging Wood itself with its towering wych elms, rowan, ash and oak trees, and old paths obscured by grass, heather and brambles is not a pleasant place.

The case is intriguing and cleverly constructed. I thought I'd worked it out and I did, but only after several red herrings threw me off track for a while. I like the mix of cold and new cases, the sense of history and the characterisation - a most satisfying read.

I also like the sub-plot of Hannah and Daniel's relationship. Both of them are now living on their own, but Marc is still trying to patch things up with Hannah and Hannah is just not sure. I think for this strand of the novels it really does help to read the books in sequence.
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I was disappointed by this book. I have enjoyed the others in the series. Daniel and Hannah are two strong characters with lots more potential and the plots have been engaging. With this book I felt that the author had been asked to play up the attraction between Daniel and Hannah at the expense of the plot which was, quite frankly, both farfetched and derivative. The only excitement came with the "will they/won't they" scenario acting as a sort of bait to keep us hanging in there. The books were strong enough without this device and this one would have been much better with a credible plot peopled by credible characters, letting Daniel and Hannah develop at their own pace.

Having got that gripe out of the way, it's an OK read on a wet day.
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on 28 March 2011
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (a free NetGalley review copy).

The fifth Lake District Mystery, featuring DI Hannah Scarlett and historian Daniel Kind - to be published soon in the UK.
"I must talk to Hannah Scarlett, it's a matter of life and death." This is how it all begins when Orla Payne calls the Cold Case Review Team of Cumbria Constabulary. Unfortunately she is so drunk that detective constable Linz Waller gives up understanding what she wants.
When Orla was a little girl, her teenage brother Callum went missing, and as his uncle committed suicide soon after, the police saw his death as an admission of guilt and closed the case. Orla never believed her Uncle Philip could hurt her brother, and even if he did, the body must be somewhere so she still wants closure of some kind. After her vain effort to get in touch with Hannah Scarlett, she goes to her father's farm and commits suicide in a corn silo, however, a drastic action which indicates she may have received new information about her brother.
Central to the setting is St Herbert's Residential Library where Daniel Kind is struggling to finish his latest book before deadline while all the beautiful women around him seem intent on taking his time. The library is also the place where Orla Payne worked, and so does the mysterious Aslan Sheik. Is the young man an idealist, or is there another reason why he chooses voluntary work among old books?
Followers of the series will know that Daniel has been single since Miranda left him, and now Hannah is also on her own as Marc moved out of their house a couple of months ago. Marc tries to make it up to her, but Hannah is not sure what she wants.
As usual, Martin Edwards offers a well-written story, an interesting setting and a fine cold-case mystery that captures your attention from the first chapter. And what happens between Hannah and Daniel - well, you'll have to read the book to find out.
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on 27 August 2011
I awaited the publication of Martin Edwards latest Lake District Mystery with patience and anticipation! Would I be able to (for once) solve the mystery before the final page? Would Hannah and Daniel "get together"? Indeed would I enjoy it as much as the previous four novels in the series? NO,READ THE BOOK, and YES.
If you are not familiar with the main characters in the series it really doesn't matter as the author manages to inform new readers of their backstory without detracting from the pace and plot of the latest mystery.
The Hanging Wood is a wood where Orla Payne's uncle killed himself after his nephew went missing.No body is found and everyone assumes that his uncle killed him. Orla has never believed that her uncle killed her brother, grief and the inability to get anyone to believe her have gradualy left Orla a bitter drunken adult who returns to her childhood village determined to find the truth.No one believes her not even Hannah and the cold case team.Where can Orla turn? What can she do?!! The dramatic fisrt chapter sets the tone and pace for the rest of the book (and answers these questions!)
I am not going to elaborate on the plot, but if you choose to read The Hanging Wood you will be treated to a story involving family rivalry, jealousy, and murder,where events from the past catch up with characters resulting in a truely gripping atmospheric mystery.
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on 12 February 2016
Here's another case for Hannah Scarlett and her cold case team to investigate in a rainy Lake District, the 4th of this series I have read. The case relates to the disappearance about 20 years ago of a teenage boy called Callum. He disappeared but no body was found and no one was charged in connection with his disappearance. Now 20 years on his sister has returned to the Lake District to live and work and she makes a distressed call to Hannah's team to plead for justice for her brother. Callum's family had split up before his disappearance but his hot-headed violent father still lives on his farm near Keswick. Callum's mother had re-married but has since died.

There are some very complicated personal and business relationships in this book. Conflicting siblings and spouses, and business partners al of which revealed as being even more complex as the story progresses. Things go from bad to worse as the dirt is dished and the body count rises. You know its going to happen but it does not make it any easier to take. The action moves between the local up-market caravan park, a learned residential library and Callum's father's farm all of which border each other.

Hannah's going through some upheaval in her personal life and is estranged from long term bibliophile partner Marc. The question is will she or won't she fall into the ever-open arms of Daniel Kind. It's not a focal point of the plot but ticking over in the background. In the end Daniel helps unravel the grim solution. I found it an exciting page-turner novel and enjoyed almost as much as I did Serpent Pool, The (Lake District Mysteries)
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VINE VOICEon 14 October 2011
Martin Edwards's Lake District mysteries can usually be relied on to have a bookish theme, and THE HANGING WOOD is no exception. Historian Daniel Kind is continuing his research on his book about de Quincy at St Herbert's private residential library near Keswick in the north of the region. He does not get much work done, though, because one of the women who works there and whom Daniel has befriended is distraught when she thinks her brother, missing presumed dead 17 years ago, is still alive. Daniel recommends that she contacts DCI Hannah Scarlett of the "cold case" squad, but before much else happens, disaster strikes.

Hannah and her new sergeant are assigned the job of looking into the boy's disappearance, interviewing his irascible father on his farm, and uncovering a tangled web of family relationships. These relationships extend to the library also. Hannah pursues her investigation and Daniel digs into the odd relationships and tensions between the families involved in the boy's disappearance and an apparent suicide. Eventually, another death leads both Hannah and Daniel to suspect what has really been going on in the past, and why people are dying now. Of course, there is a "will they won't they?" element to the story of Daniel and Hannah: in this novel Hannah is ambivalent about her ex-partner Marc from whom she split up six months ago, as well as her ongoing feelings for Daniel and some new ones for her sergeant, who is not the sexist bore that his previous reputation had suggested.

This novel is well up to the standards of the series, as well as providing plenty of descriptions of this particularly beautiful part of the Lake District in north-west England. It is a traditional mystery that will be much enjoyed by anyone who likes a good, solid read with sympathetic characters and a literary theme.
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on 9 October 2011
A new Martin Edwards book is a pleasure to be anticipated keenly, and The Hanging Wood doesn't disappoint. The series is set in the Lake District, which may look picturesque to visitors but is inhabited by a local population who are no strangers to the struggle of farming on marginal land and its concomitant high suicide rate (I've often thought that being a farmer ought to carry an automatic ban on owning a shotgun). Because it's a tourist destination with a long pedigree, though, culture sits side by side with poverty, and secondhand bookshops and private libraries plausibly rest alongside holiday parks - and it's these last which provide the setting for The Hanging Wood, when a young woman with a history of alcohol problems contacts Hannah Scarlett's cold case team to demand that her brother's disappearance should be re-investigated. Hannah finds herself once again comparing notes with historian Daniel Kind, who is researching his next book in the desultory way possible to a successful populariser of history, a pursuit which apparently leaves him plenty of time to indulge his curiosity about unexplained deaths. He's interested in Hannah, too, but they are both feeling a bit battered, and Hannah's ex-partner the bookseller doesn't consider himself out of the picture. Although Marc isn't as central a character as in the previous books, there's still plenty to please the bibliophile and there's a nice comment about to-be-read piles guaranteed to make readers smile, rather making up for his incendiary plot device earlier in the series.

This series is establishing a firm place amongst the best of British crime fiction, nicely but not tortuously plotted, with well-drawn characters and an excellent cast of regulars. Like the golden age classics they appeal to a wide readership, and I think they will wear well.
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on 15 March 2013
Normally I read and enjoy books by Martin Edwards; I come from the Lake District and know many of the locations. So what did I make of The Hanging Wood? Well not a lot I'm afraid, I was completely confused by the sub plots which seemed to have little purpose other than to pad out the novel to three hundred and fifty tedious pages. Some of the characters were obviously there to confuse, well it worked that much I can say. Buy this book if you must, but there are more enjoyable ways of wasting £7.99
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on 12 April 2012
In this fast-moving plot, Martin Edwards portrays violent death corrupting the beauty and splendour of its Lake District setting. The re-opening by DCI Hannah Scarlett of the case of a teenager missing for twenty years, generally believed to have been murdered by his uncle, sets in train a series of deaths. As leader of a Cold Case Review Team, she has been asked to look at the case by the boy's sister, who is the first to die, thus involving Hannah in a current investigation. It is not clear whether the young woman's terrible death is suicide or murder. There is no doubt about the equally horrible end of her half brother. A large cast of characters offers the possibility of several suspects, but the main one is the violent farmer, father of the two dead and of the missing boy. Hannah's friend, a historian, supplies her with information about other local families, which helps her to identify the burial place of the missing boy, and the identity of the killer. This is an unexpected twist, which leads to a final gruesome killing. Edwards keeps the reader guessing to the end.
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on 4 March 2012
After reading The Serpent Pool I was really looking forward to this one and it didn't disappoint in the least. I have a tiny niggle which I'll come to later but overall I thought it was just as great as the previous Lake District Mysteries. The one thing that shines through all these books for me is the sense of place. Martin Edwards paints such a wonderful picture of the Lake District that you feel you are walking through these same locations as Hannah and Daniel. I know that many of them are fictional but there is none of the 'made-up' feeling you get with some other books. The plot moved with wonderful pace and as before the characters really come off the page and are totally believable. The murders are superbly ghastly and horribly claustrophic. And so to my little niggle - please Mr Edwards you have to either let Hannah and Daniel get together in the next book or one of them is going to have to go away. We can take the will-they-won't-they only for so long but it will become a bit tedious if something doesn't happen. Next book soon please!
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