In advance of publication, The Serpent Pool has already earned high praise in a number of review journals. Library Journal, for example, gave the book a much-prized ‘starred’ review and commented:
‘In Edwards’s fourth “Lake District” procedural, DI Hannah Scarlett works a cold case involving the mysterious drowning of a young woman. Was it suicide or murder? Meanwhile, the rest of the Cumbria CID is investigating the gruesome death of a book collector incinerated along with his books. Verdict: the juxtaposition of human relationships past and present, the interweaving of the writings and life of Thomas de Quincey with the contemporary plot, and the backdrop of England’s Lake District, famous for its literary connections, make this an excellent choice for discerning readers who want an unusual and challenging puzzle mystery that will keep them guessing until the final pages. Wow!’
Suggested discussion points for readers’ groups
A starting point for debate may be some or all of the following questions:
- How important to the book, and your enjoyment of it, was the description of the Lake District setting?
- If you had not read any of the earlier books in the series, did this affect your appreciation of the story?
- After the first chapter, events are seen from three viewpoints: those of Hannah, Marc, and Daniel. Why do you think the book was structured in this way?
- Does the fact that both Hannah and Daniel are interested in events of the past detract from the contemporary ‘feel’ of the book, or complement it?
- Did you find the background information about second hand bookselling and Thomas de Quincey interesting, or did you prefer to get on with solving the mystery?
- Were you more interested in finding out whodunit, or in the relationships between the characters?
- Did you think that the events of the book successfully reflected its central theme?
- Did you agree with the verdict of Library Journal on the book?
The Serpent Pool is published in the UK by Allison & Busby, in the US by Poisoned Pen Press, and in Germany by Luebbe.