The Hanging Wood
Poisoned Pen, Apr 4 2011, $24.95
Two decades ago teenager Callum Hinds vanished without a trace. The police investigation failed to find him. The case closed when the cops concluded the child was killed by his uncle in a murder suicide though they found the lad’s body.
In the present, Callum’s twenty-seven year old sister Orla Payne never believed her uncle killed his nephew and then himself. Needing closure with the truth and encouraged by historian Daniel Kind, Orla takes a position in a residential library to be near the Hanging Wood where the calamity occurred. At Kind’s suggestion, she calls Cumbria Cold Case Detective Chief Inspector Hannah Scarlett to try to get her to reopen her sibling’s investigation, but fails as her mind went fuzzy and the cop lost patience with her. Not long afterward, Orla dies from suffocation in a grain silo; that looks like a suicide. Feeling a bit guilty for ignoring the woman who called frantically twice just before her death, Hannah reopens the “solved” case with Kind assisting her
The latest Lake District police procedural (see The Serpent Pool) is an exciting past and present investigative thriller. The story line is at its best when the focus is on the Hinds family; on the other hand the subplot of Scarlett's personal life detracts from the case as that adds nothing but filler. Still readers will enjoy Martin Edward’s deadly tour of the Hanging Wood.