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The Cipher Garden: A Lake District Mystery    by Martin Edwards order for
Cipher Garden
by Martin Edwards
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Historian Daniel Kind has left the halls of academe to luxuriate in the beautiful Lake District of England. But he finds he just can't stop being an historian, and rather fancies himself a detective as well – thinking that the two professions go together. While trying to solve the mystery he is sure exists in his garden, he falls into the cold case of murder of a local roué. Daniel ties up with an old friend, Chief Inspector Hannah Scarlett as they try to untangle the myriad threads that hold the village together.

I found it a little difficult to keep all the characters straight in my head. They seemed to come so fast and their relationships danced from one bed to another. But I was up to the mental challenge and sorted them all out. I'm glad I did. The Cipher Garden moves along at a good clip. The characters prove that small village living can get just as complicated as life in the big city. There are several scenes that take away your breath and make you wish you could rewrite the words.

The climax is a real shocker – but arrived at too soon. I could have reveled in the Lake District for a few more pages. This is a second in the Lake District Mystery series by Martin Edwards, following The Coffin Trail, which introduced Hannah and Daniel.

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