The Coffin Trail - Readers' Group Information
The Coffin Trail is the first of the Lake District Mysteries and was one of six books short-listed for the Theakston’s Old Peculier award for best crime novel of 2006 – the other contenders included Ian Rankin, Stephen Booth, Susan Hill, and the eventual winner Val McDermid.
Oxford historian Daniel Kind and his partner Miranda both want to escape to a new life. On impulse they buy a cottage in Brackdale, an idyllic valley in the Lake District. But the past soon catches up with Daniel. Tarn Cottage was once home to Barrie Gilpin, suspected of a savage murder. A young woman's body was found on the Sacrifice Stone, an ancient pagan site up on the fell., but Barrie died before he could be arrested. Daniel has personal reasons for becoming fascinated by the case and for believing in Barrie's innocence. When the police launch a cold case review, Brackdale's skeletons begin to rattle and the lives of Daniel and DCI Hannah Scarlett become strangely entwined.
Suggested discussion points for readers’ groups
A starting point for debate may be some or all of the following questions:
- Do you think this book was originally intended to be the first in a series?
- How does the author integrate description of landscape with plot?
- How does Daniel’s connection with Hannah impact on the plot?
- Why do you think the author included a prologue?
- Could this plot have worked in a different setting?
- What do you make of the contrast in personalities between Miranda and Hannah?
- Is Hannah credible as a woman police officer?
The Coffin Trail is published in the UK by Allison & Busby, in the US by Poisoned Pen Press, and in Germany by Luebbe.