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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Past and present
Hannah Scarlett and her cold case team are forced into investigating the disappearance - or is it murder? - of Emma Beswick, by an investigative journalist. Hannah herself was part of the original investigation and felt that there was more to the case than they'd discovered. Daniel Kind - the Oxford historian who has moved to the Lake District, is also curious about the...
Published on 5 Oct 2008 by Damaskcat

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moderate.
Not I fear for the first time, I find myself at odds with fellow reviewers. Recently I have run into a number of somewhat indifferent crime novels after hitting lucky with some very fine ones.

I need to confess that this is the first of Martin Edwards' books I have encountered and only afterwards discovered that this is the third in the Lakes murder series...
Published 9 months ago by Bluecashmere.


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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Past and present, 5 Oct 2008
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ARSENIC LABYRINTH, THE (Lake District Mysteries) (Paperback)
Hannah Scarlett and her cold case team are forced into investigating the disappearance - or is it murder? - of Emma Beswick, by an investigative journalist. Hannah herself was part of the original investigation and felt that there was more to the case than they'd discovered. Daniel Kind - the Oxford historian who has moved to the Lake District, is also curious about the case and is looking for an excuse to contact Hannah again. His relationship with Miranda is going nowhere and he is looking for a new subject to write about. Full of troubled characters, both past and present, who all have skeletons rattling in their cupboards and marvellous descriptions of the scenery and atmosphere of the Lake District, this third book in the series is every bit as good as the last two. I read it over 24 hours and found I had to keep reading until I found who had been murdered and why. The ending is brilliant and definitely not what I thought it would be. I look forward to reading the next in the series.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine Lace, 3 Jun 2008
By 
Chris High "Chris H" (Wirral, Merseyside,England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: ARSENIC LABYRINTH, THE (Lake District Mysteries) (Paperback)
Like fine wine, Martin Edwards's series of novels set in the Lake District improve with age. The Arsenic Labyrinth, the third in the series following the highly acclaimed The Coffin Trail and The Cipher Garden, sees the lives of former historian Daniel Kind and DCI Hannah Scarlett become entwined again in a tale more satisfying than a bottle of vintage Krug.
Historian Daniel Kind is finding the winter months at Brackdale tough, especially so as his relationship with Miranda is also going through a dark time. Far from the bright lights of London and with the renovations behind schedule and over-budget, Miranda has a bad case of itchy feet. The fear that she may just get up and leave isn't far from his thoughts. She wouldn't be the first: years ago a solitary woman called Emma Beswick left her cottage nearby and never came back. Her disappearance went unaccounted for, and the unresolved case always irked DCI Hannah Scarlett.
Someone knows something though; someone who keeps calling the local newspaper and dropping hints about Emma's death. With the case reopened, Hannah and Daniel are drawn together again, and discover that one person will preserve the secrets of the past, whatever the cost.
This, genuinely, is one terrific read. Intriguing, fast-paced and, at times, disturbing, The Arsenic Labyrinth sees the central characters of Kind and Scarlett as more rounded, more genuine individuals who continue to grow with steadfast assuredness.
Edwards's grasp on the descriptive, too, is evermore vivid as the sights and scents of The Lakes become ever more evocative so that one can almost smell the bracken, feel the mist and sense the knives being stabbed into backs by the locals, as gossip and innuendo increases on every page.
The Arsenic Labyrinth is Martin Edwards at his very, very best and is a complex though never confusing thriller that should be read by anyone with a love of excellent writing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Third novel in superb Lake District mystery series, 30 May 2010
By 
Maxine Clarke "Maxine of Petrona" (Kingston upon Thames, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ARSENIC LABYRINTH, THE (Lake District Mysteries) (Paperback)
THE ARSENIC LABYRINTH sees the welcome return of historian Daniel Kind and DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of the Cold Case Review Team, in the Lake District, in the third of this excellent series.
It's the ten-year anniversary of the disappearance of Emma Bestwick and the local paper runs a piece on her vanishing. Coincidentally someone who knows what happened to her, Guy Koenig a small beer criminal and con man, has returned to the area after a ten year absence. Guy wants to put Emma's sister's mind at rest and to let her know what happened to Emma and so tips off the paper as to where Emma's body should be.
Hannah's team springs in to action and discover not one but two skeletons under the 'Arsenic Labyrinth' near to the village of Coniston. Hannah's investigation involves questioning Emma's sister and brother-in-law, her ex-lover and the couple who were her landlords before Emma came into a sizeable amount of money of a mysterious provenance.
THE ARSENIC LABYRINTH is a classy and classic British crime novel. A mix of amateur sleuth and police procedural, there are clues available for the reader to have a good guess at what happened to Emma Bestwick. As with THE COFFIN TRAIL and THE CIPHER GARDEN another part of the Lake District is spotlighted. The combination of likeable characters and a strong plot with informative local history and an evocative setting make this series a winner.

A full version of this review is at Euro Crime.

The novels in this series, in order, are: The Coffin Trail, The Cipher Garden, The Arsenic Labyrinth and The Serpent Pool. They are all excellent examples of why crime fiction is popular with so many readers. If you are thinking of trying James Patterson or Patricia Cornwell, try these instead, they are much better!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a good job I'm ill., 22 May 2008
By 
Ms. El Spencer (Rochdale England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ARSENIC LABYRINTH, THE (Lake District Mysteries) (Paperback)
I would of had to of had a "duvet day" if I wasn't already off work as I couldn't put The Arsenic Labyrinth down!Meticulous research,(I never knew arsenic was so fascinating)believable characters and a wonderfully intricate plot make Martin Edwards' third Lake District novel another winner. The story revolves around two murders separated by fifty years but the victims are both found in The Arsenic Labyrinth.I defy anyone to guess who the murderers are and why the murders were commited!Martin Edwards kept me guessing until nearly the last page again!!The characters of Hannah,head of the Cold Case Team,and Daniel,an Oxford historian who has down sized to The Lakes play a large and ever intriguing role but the story also has some facinating and eccentric characters.I especially liked Alban Clough owner of Cumbria's Museum of Myth and Legend and Guy(is that his real name!?)From the first line "you'd never believe it to look at me now, but once upon a time I killed a man" to the last page I was hooked.
It is hard to believe that Martin Edwards is a full time partner in a law firm and only writes in his spare time!If you have some spare time Mr Edwards could we have some more please?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Lakes so far, 30 April 2009
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This review is from: ARSENIC LABYRINTH, THE (Lake District Mysteries) (Paperback)
Martin Edwards has created strong, interesting and appealing characters in his Lake District series of murder mysteries. Arsenic Labyrinth develops them and their situation nicely, now more openly playing will-they won't-they with main protagonists Hannah and Daniel, which adds to the reader's enjoyment. However stylish Arsenic Labyrinth has much more to offer than that. Villains from the present and the past provide intrigue and, as ever with this author, something a little out of the ordinary. The riveting plot is suspenseful and beautifully worked, and the Lakes District background is, as always, evocatively described.

Too many detective novels these days are too easy to guess or too flawed for truly satisfying reading. This novel avoids those traps with panache, and is the best of Martin Edwards' Lakes series so far.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Arsenic Labyrinth, 28 Feb 2009
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Belfast Dave (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ARSENIC LABYRINTH, THE (Lake District Mysteries) (Paperback)
The third instalment from Martin Edwards in his unique "Lake District" series, and as with the previous two books, an absolute gem.
I whole heartedly agree with other reviewers about "The Arsenic Labyrinth" and can endorse that, with every additional book, we learn more about the characters, places, folklore, myths and legends that abound in the Lake District of Martin Edwards' literature. What has struck me from reading the first book "The Coffin Trail" through to this third endeavour is the knowledge we gleam regarding the main players in this series, their likes, dislikes, loves and attractions (I wont say any more, I promise!). Then there is Edwards extensive research into the actual, and historically correct, titles of his books. I had no idea that their really are walkways called "Coffin Trails", horticultural puzzles such as "Cipher Gardens", and quarry struck man made tunnels called "Arsenic Labyrinth's".
I can be a bit of an impatient reader. If I feel that a book is taking too long, or becomes tiresome, I cut it very little slack. Once or twice I have come close to abandoning each of Martin Edwards books. Only because they have to be read slightly differently from the body strung, high octave, serial killer bumpers, that are for the most, my books of choice. Thank God I persevered. For I have been rewarded with a series of books that are literate, but not bewildering, and engaging, yet gritty and highly entertaining. Can't wait for the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moderate., 30 Oct 2013
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This review is from: ARSENIC LABYRINTH, THE (Lake District Mysteries) (Paperback)
Not I fear for the first time, I find myself at odds with fellow reviewers. Recently I have run into a number of somewhat indifferent crime novels after hitting lucky with some very fine ones.

I need to confess that this is the first of Martin Edwards' books I have encountered and only afterwards discovered that this is the third in the Lakes murder series. I'm not sure how much that colours my reading.The plot, if scarcely original, holds up well and sustains interest through to the end. This apart, I was disappointed in the prolific Mr Edwards. The central character, his female detective, seems to me less than compelling, lacking in any really distinctive life. The writing is quite sharp, full of rather artful literary allusions and almost equally full of clichés. I found the tone of knowingness an increasing irritant at least until the novel's plot picked up enough pace to override that. For me this is an adequate airport read, but certainly not in the class of Ann Cleeves, whose Shetland novels are so strongly atmospheric, William Ryan, whose Russian crime novels have real depth or M.R.Hall, who writes with great style and has a feminine lead, who is genuinely complex and fascinating.

I suppose it is horses for courses but one can only speak as one reacts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Labyrinthine in its mystique, 30 Dec 2012
By 
Jane Baker "jan-bookcase" (Somerset) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ARSENIC LABYRINTH, THE (Lake District Mysteries) (Paperback)
Brilliant! From the opening line "I killed a man once" the reader is hooked until the final denouement, terrifying in its unpredictability. The novel is a complex mass of "baggage" - from the disappearance of Emma Beswick, ten years earlier, the deteriorating relationship of Daniel Kind and Miranda who is unable to settle with the ease with which Kind has done, glad to leave behind the ivory towers of Oxford. His relationship with Hannah Scarlett, confusing because his father Ben Kind always seems to be in the background with its effect on Scarlett, confuses more against Scarlett's unstraightforward relationship with Marc. Then there is Guy and the journalist who is desperate to have this case re-opened. Yet despite complexities and contradictions Edwards weaves his plot with consummate skill to its last page. This series is a must-read for all who-dunnit fans. Edwards is a serious crime fiction author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent plot twists, 27 Jan 2010
This review is from: ARSENIC LABYRINTH, THE (Lake District Mysteries) (Paperback)
For historian Daniel Kind the move from the south to the Lake District has been a good decision, he is enjoying living in a small rural community but his partner Miranda who was the keenest on the move is becoming increasingly restless, and has been making more and more trips to London.Daniel can see that the charm of the Lake District is beginning to lose it's grip on Miranda and fears that the day may come when she leaves for London and does not return..

Having restored the cottage and garden Daniel turns to putting some money back in the pot, and is currently researching John Ruskin for a book, which leads him to Alexandra Clough and her father Alban Clough of Inchmore Hall, home to Cumbria's Museum of Myth and Legend.

Meanwhile DCI Hannah Scarlett who heads the Cold Case Review Team, is investigating the disappearance of one Emma Bestwick, who left her cottage ten years ago and has never returned. Re-interviewing the family Hannah is surprised to find a `let's leave it be' attitude from Emma's sister Karen. But journalist Tony Di Venuto from the Post has also raised the question of Emma's disappearance, for what reason Hannah has yet to discover.

The story is told from several points of view, Daniel and Hannah, and a con man Guy Keonig who masquerades as Robert L Stevenson. As with the two earlier books in the series, the seemingly unrelated research by Daniel Kind for his book, and the cold case investigation, bring Daniel and Hannah into contact again. Still in the background, although in the forefront of Hannah's life, is her partner Marc Amos who is a secondhand book dealer and a great source of knowledge for Daniel in his research, but try as I might I cannot bring my self to like Marc Amos.

A good mystery with some interesting characters and some excellent plot twists. Highly recommended.

------
Lizzie Hayes
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4.0 out of 5 stars a good read, 13 April 2014
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This is a light read with a clever plot. Much better than the first book so I'm glad I stuck with the author. Characters are good and story line believable. I would read another of his books.
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ARSENIC LABYRINTH, THE (Lake District Mysteries)
ARSENIC LABYRINTH, THE (Lake District Mysteries) by Martin Edwards (Paperback - 25 Feb 2008)
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