The Frozen Shroud
"Martin Edwards...makes all the characters real, credible, and in the cases of the heroine, DCI Hannah Scarlett...and the slightly less heroic local historian Daniel Kind, highly sympathetic...Writing with scrupulous exactness, but sparing his readers too many disgusting details, he supplies fair clues, an agreeable setting, and a good, gripping, credible tale, which I highly recommend."
Jessica Mann, Literary Review
"Edwards draws on his knowledge of criminal research to interweave a hundred-year-old tale of a jilted wife allegedly killing her husband’s lover—and the legend of the victim’s faceless ghost—with a five-year-old cold case involving a similar murder of the young lover of a wealthy widower. Daniel Kind is in Ravenbank researching the original case when, following a Halloween dance, a third victim is discovered. DCI Scarlett arrives to investigate and the tension between detective and history professor rekindles. In addition to clever plotting and an evocative atmosphere, Edwards has given us a pair of characters whose mutual attraction and repulsion make a perfect recipe for tension."
Steve Steinbock, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
‘If you like your whodunits with a small list of possible suspects and motives à la Dame Agatha; more than one murder investigation happening at the same time à la Peter Robinson; and important links to the past à la the late Reginald Hill, you’ll love this book... I can highly recommend it.’
Joseph Scarpato Jr, Mystery Scene
'The Frozen Shroud, the latest novel from national firm Weightmans partner Martin Edwards, leads the reader through the twists and turns of two investigations – one by the police, the other by a local historian – that finally solve the mystery. It’s an absorbing read that evokes the atmosphere of the Lake District, while giving a vivid account of police procedures and the equally meticulous sifting of evidence by a historian.'
Jonathan Rayner, Law Society's Gazette
‘An excellent mystery, exciting and suspenseful. The ensemble of principal and secondary characters are well cast, each playing off the strengths of those they interact with. The beautifully rendered Lake District setting makes for an atmospheric backdrop to the murder investigation conducted by Hannah and Daniel, a storyline that turns out to be a strongly plotted and most enjoyable whodunit.’
'A well-worked out plot...I have enjoyed reading all the previous books in the series and this was no exception'
Geoff Bradley, CADS
‘I loved this book. It was not a fluffy little who-done-it, but an intelligent, smart story that made me think. I had to read it slower and pay more attention, but it is refreshing to read a wonderfully written mystery with substance. I will seek out this award winner author’s other books. Edwards is a gem.’
Laura Hartman, In My Words
"Wondefully atmospheric and deftly characterised...the remote but eerily claustrophobic community of Ravenbank...[is] a memorable invention by Edwards, a brilliantly evoked fictional place...Edwards' sharp eye for detail produces prose that is rich but never over-clutered with information...The tension of The Frozen Shroud is palpable from beginning to end: this is a book underpinned by the assured craft and skill of a really fine writer of whodunits and I found it quite impossible to put down. Warmly recommended."
Nigel Simeone, Dorothy L. Sayers Bulletin
‘In Martin Edwards’ books, the characters are all so alive, the settings so vividly described and the plots so intricate and compelling. I love all the historical and literary references he uses, weaving them seamlessly into the books, and then there is the ongoing friendship between Daniel and Hannah – both Daniel’s sister and Hannah’s friends keep insisting they’re right for each other.’
'Edwards is spot on at conjuring atmosphere and instils an intense claustrophobia as the solid winter darkness falls and as the dense fog squeezes the life out of the day. Sometimes I felt that the small cast of characters in this book weren’t on the mainland, but marooned on an island, separated from the rest of humanity by the forces of nature. You can tell that Edwards loves this part of the UK, but is not averse to showing the unseemly side of it, either.
‘The Frozen Shroud’ is a marvellous Gothic gem with plenty of the dark and the mysterious to keep you riveted to Edwards’ tale. You can tell that Edwards enjoys this genre as he scatters forgotten Gothic writers of old who were feted in their day and now forgotten. ‘The Killer and the Slain’, which I had never heard of is mentioned here and already I have bought the book as it intrigued me so much!
The plot of ‘The Frozen Shroud’ is well-played and with the intensity of a two-person play, (a subject touched upon in the book), the small cast of ‘players’ in this drama adds to the intensity and it wasn’t until near the very end that I had a glimmer as to where Edwards was directing this reader.
In a nutshell, ‘The Frozen Shroud’ is a well-constructed mystery that I am sure Christie herself would have been pleased to put her name against. Saying that, Edwards does not sacrifice his characters for plot and leads his protagonists a merry dance of emotions. This is a splendid work of entertainment and one I strongly implore you to explore. I do suggest you don’t read this book on a winter’s evening, in a solitary cottage in the middle of nowhere with the fog pressing against the windows. Not unless you really want to lose a night’s sleep! Enjoy!'
'I really loved this book. For my money, it’s the best Lake District novel so far.'
Roberta Rood, Books to the Ceiling
‘A quick and enjoyable read, ideal for curling up with on a rainy day.’
Harriet Devine’s blog
‘This is the sixth in this enjoyable and atmospheric series, which is nicely plotted and set in the lovely and usually tourist-encumbered Lake District locale; the goings-on are fun to watch.’
I Love a Mystery
‘It’s always satisfying when you get a book to review that’s right to your taste. This is a classic English mystery with everything one could want: a cast of characters you’ve met before, an atmospheric location with just a hint of the supernatural, a bit of history, and enough romance to spice it up without taking too many side trips into someone’s bedroom.. Edwards proceeds to draw all his various threads together, past and present, and provides the solution to all the murders, ancient and modern, plus brings about a very satisfying final scene for those of us who like tidy endings. Definitely looking forward to the next Lake District Mystery!’
New Mystery Reader
‘Layered, atmospheric...creepy premise.’
‘This is a fantastic mystery series. Fast-paced and very readable, I always devour Martin Edwards' books in big gulps, unable to put them down. The sinister atmosphere of remote Ravenbank is beautifully conveyed through the biting cold weather & an atmosphere of dread that affects all the inhabitants of the small community. Daniel's research inevitably steps on some toes as everyone has something to hide although not necessarily about the murders. Daniel himself is an immensely likeable character, who loves his work & is relentless when he gets a lead on a mystery. I enjoyed the details of Daniel's research into Gertrude's murder & the breakthrough he needs comes from a dusty archive where he can finally put the pieces together.’
I Prefer Reading
"The whole is tightly plotted as a puzzle which the reader is invited to solve as our amateur and professional detectives pursue their investigations. At every stage, we’re able to observe the facts as they emerge and to understand the deductive processes involved in analysing those facts and arriving at a reasonable whodunnit solution. The only feature which distinguishes this book from the classic novels of more than fifty years ago is the amount of psychological depth invested in the characters. We’re given enough information to be able to understand not just the detectives, but also all those who are involved in the investigation. Whereas the classic Golden Age book simply set out to pose and answer a puzzle, this sets out to explain all the mysteries including who everyone is. This does not, of course, change the end result. Peace and order is restored to the British countryside so all is well with the world once again. For these purposes, we can overlook the dead bodies and the social and economic hardships caused by the murders. Bad stuff happens, even in idyllic countryside.
...the resolution of the puzzle is consequently pleasing because it arises through the application of scholarly skills. It’s academic archaeology unearthing the clues in the past. I confess to being pleasantly surprised by the way the different motives overlapped through time. The common denominator linking the murder is easy to see. But understanding the precise mechanisms at work is more challenging. There’s also quite a satisfying link between the central mystery and the turmoil in the female detective’s life. No-one is immune from the insecurities she feels — it’s always difficult to leave the past behind and stay positive. Put all this together and The Frozen Shroud is a great success. It contrives to preserve everything that made the old puzzle mysteries such a joy to solve, it adds a very good police procedural element, and says interesting things about the people involved."
Thinking About Books
‘Well worth the read. The plot takes an unusual turn with many characters to keep straight. Be vigilant. All of them play a vital part in the story.’
‘One of those novels that plays with your mind. Just when you think you have everything figured out and you begin to expect something, it doesn’t go at all the way you thought it would.. the dialogue was very well written and was exactly like overhearing a real conversation, so that helped. I enjoyed the story and the way the author created the townspeople was a fine example of plot and character development. The actions of the minor characters helped me feel closer to the setting and the main characters. This is a book that features real literature. The wording is always eloquent, intelligent and fitting for the style of writing. The plot does not feel contrived and the development of the story has a natural seamless feel. If you love a good mystery and beautifully crafted writing, this would be just the thing!’
‘Edwards does an impressive job of linking the three murders across the long years.’
"Hannah Scarlett is an interesting protagonist. As I haven’t read any other of the previous books, I’ve clearly missed a significant amount of character development but it’s easy to piece together the background of both Hannah and Daniel. Hannah is reassuringly vulnerable. She makes poor decisions in relation to her personal life which gives her character depth. Her friendship with Daniel is still tentative and based more on mutual admiration than anything substantial at this stage...
It was a bold move by the writer to bring three plot strands together, all of which involve a similar style murder. In fact it worked very well as all three murdered women had distinct personalities. For those, like me, who are new to Edwards’ work, Frozen Shroud is an excellent introduction and I’ll definitely be reading more of this series. His existing fans, I’m sure, will love it.
‘A strong entry that grips the audience from the opening murder and never loosens its hold until the final denouement. Fast-paced, the romance between the DCI and the criminologist for the most part simmers on the back burner as the murder investigation takes center stage throughout in this super whodunit(s).’
Harriet Klausner, Murder-Go-Round
‘Martin Edwards balances this extensive cast of characters, and the multiple murderous events, very well, inspiring the reader with hunger to turn the next page and a constant stream of “but what if—it happened this way?” I did not want to put the novel until I had completed it; and I definitely intend to look up the other novels in this series and put Mr. Edwards on my authors-I-must-read shelf.’
Mallory Heart Reviews
"This is my first novel by Edwards and certainly not my last. He keeps the reader totally in the story. The descriptions of the background is also done very well. The secondary characters are also interesting, each having a failing or two."
Everything Distils into Reading
"With his vivid descriptions and an overlapping of murders to be solved, The Frozen Shroud capitalizes on a creepy local legend with links to the past and two murders on Hallowe’en that bear the same characteristics. Daniel Kind’s love of research of murder adds to the atmosphere, and Hannah Scarlett’s work situation, fraught with stress and coupled with the the rising tension between these two fascinating characters, adds to the texture of the novel.
There are plenty of red herrings that bring this series along classical lines, making it a totally satisfying and complex crime novel. The dialogue and prose are literate and realistic. Old hurts, revenge, misconceptions and plain old jealousy rear their head as motives. The characters living near the haunted ground of Ravensbank all have secrets with ties to the past, and it would be cruel to tell readers more without spoiling the plot. If you haven’t read this atmospheric series, now’s the time to grab one and then gobble them all up."
Marni Graff, Auntiemwrites blog
‘This is a well-plotted mystery with lots of red herrings and plenty of suspects. I've got to give Edwards credit--he had me changing my mind about the culprit with nearly every turn of the page...The descriptions of the Lake District are lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions of all the characters. I look forward to turning to the beginning of the series and seeing how the relationship between Daniel and Hannah has come about. In this novel they are just figuring out that what their friends have been saying to them just might be true--they're suited for each other. But I can tell there's a lot of water under those bridges and I want to find out where it came from. An excellent entry in what seems to be a very fine series.’
My Reader’s Block
Martin Edwards is an accomplished storyteller and keeps the readers on their toes with coincidences and red herrings. It is a book that makes you think as you weigh up the evidence for yourself.
Running through the background is the on-again off-again relationship between the detective Hannah and the historian Daniel. And almost a character is a sensitive portrayal of the Lake District."
Mysteries n Paradise
‘A more than worthwhile novel to dive into for mystery lovers. Especially for those in the mood for a solid mystery with an intriguing premise and locale, this latest Lake District tale is sure to satisfy.’
Reviewing the Evidence
‘The twist at the end is superb, the killer being someone you would never have suspected. Overall, a 'soap-opera' style mystery that is well written and which kept me guessing till the end.’
Tomes of the Soul
‘Edwards knows his business. He understands how to parcel out the clues and red herrings so as to feed the reader enough information to keep a variety of possibilities open, while making sure to prepare for a satisfying solution.’
"A good, fast read for a dark and foggy night."