The Cipher Garden - Readers' Group Information
Booklist in the United States said of The Cipher Garden: 'The second Lake District mystery finds Daniel Kind, Oxford University historian and amateur sleuth, trying to determine why his garden seems almost deliberately designed as a labyrinth. Meanwhile, Detective Chief Inspector Hannah Scarlett, head of the cold case squad, gets a tip that fingers a suspect in an old murder: the dead man's wife. Slowly, even gracefully, the author weaves the two stories in and around each other until they become one. Mixing cozy and hard-boiled ambience, the series' setting, a quaint English village with big-city problems, takes center stage here, keeping readers off guard by mixing the familiar with the unfamiliar. Perhaps this innovative use of landscape as character eventually will seem quite ordinary, but enjoy it while you can. It's not often the genre offers something genuinely fresh
Suggested discussion points for readers’ groups
A starting point for debate may be some or all of the following questions:
- Do you agree that the book mixes a ‘cosy’ and ‘hard-boiled’ ambience?
- Did the author succeed in integrating the old crime with action in the present?
- What techniques did the author use to keep the reader ‘off guard’?
- Did you think the sub-plot about Daniel’s garden strengthened the story?
- How did you rate the way the book used ‘landscape as character’?
- Were you interested in the relationship developing between Daniel and Hannah, and if so, why?
The Cipher Garden is published in the UK by Allison & Busby, in the US by Poisoned Pen Press, and in Germany by Luebbe.