Cover Image: The Crooked Shore

The Crooked Shore

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Member Reviews

I haven't yet read any of the previous titles in Martin Edwards' Lake District Mystery series, but thoroughly enjoyed reading The Crooked Shore. I'm looking forward to catching up with the rest of the series in the near future, but can assure potential readers that this title works perfectly well as a standalone.
A suicide by drowning draws D.C.I. Hannah Scarlett into a cold case investigation related to the disappearance of local woman Ramona Smith twenty-one years previously. The case was originally investigated by D.I. Ben Kind, Hannah's mentor and predecessor, who also happens to be her partner Daniel's late father. Kind had identified Ramona's former employer, gift shop owner Gerald Lace, as the prime suspect in her presumed murder. While Lace was acquitted at his subsequent trial, he and his family were never able to escape the stigma of his association with Ramona's disappearance. Lace later committed suicide by walking into the treacherous waters of the crooked shore, a tragedy now echoed by the suicide of Lace's son, Darren, in the same place and manner. But could Gerald Lace have been unfairly accused, and if so what happened to the ill-fated Ramona?
Meanwhile, the man who witnessed Darren's suicide, Kingsley Melton, is preoccupied by the sudden reappearance of Logan Prentice, a charming young man whom he suspects of fraud and murder. Melton manages plush but remote apartment development, Strandbeck Manor, and is cultivating a romantic attachment with wealthy and alluring resident Tory Reece-Taylor. He believes Prentice is targeting Tory and that her life is in danger - how can he convince local authorities of Prentice's malfeasance before it's too late?
Martin Edwards deftly weaves the two narrative threads into a complex and intriguing mystery. Meanwhile, there is added interest in the shape of D.C.I. Scarlett's personal life. She and Daniel appear happy in their relationship, but there are inevitable stressors associated with the demands of her job and the frequent travel he undertakes as a published author. A potential rival emerges in the shape of Alex Samaras, a beautiful and charming woman who rescued Daniel's sister Louise when she fell in a river while walking a neighbour's dog. Alex is a gushing fan of Daniel's writing and Louise can't help but wonder if romance might blossom between them.
I appreciated Edwards' more traditional style of mystery writing, but must emphasise that this is in no way a sedate or "cosy" mystery. The plot is complex and the dramatic denouement is both satisfying and unexpected. The characters are all well-developed and their motivations believable. Edwards uses the stunning setting of the Lake District to atmospheric effect, and while the eponymous "crooked shore" itself is imaginary, there are plenty of real life references to keep armchair travellers like myself satisfied!
I have no hesitation in highly recommending The Crooked Shore to all readers who enjoy well-crafted mysteries and complex plots. I'm looking forward to bringing myself up to speed with the remainder of the Lake District Mystery series.
My thanks to the author, Martin Edwards, publisher Allison & Busby and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.
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I haven’t read the previous books in the series, and apparently the main characters have been around for some time now. But that didn’t deter me to enjoy this story, not even a second. 

It’s been twenty years since a murder case remained unsolved and now, after all this time, someone wants to open the cold case again because there’s something interesting happening around the same setting that could cause a lot of chaos in the future. 

It immersed me in the story from the beginning to the end; the author has a way with his words that makes me want to never stop reading and falling for each piece of a puzzle that he drops around when least expected. 

It’s much more psychological twisted than mystery story and I love when a book really challenges me in that way, because not only one of my theories was right in here. 

A very compelling read that highly recommend.

arc review
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“All right, you win. Let me explain to you why Ramona Smith had to die.”
When Darren Lace walked to his death on the Crooked Shore in Cumbria exactly twenty years after his father did, the Cold Case unit headed by Hannah Scarlett is called in to reopen the case of Ramona Smith’s disappearance. Darren Lace has been the prime suspect for her murder, and while he was found not guilty, he could not deal with the aftermath, and it seems his son, after all these years could not either.
Meanwhile, someone has returned to the area, someone who may well have killed before. Someone who may well kill again. As events begin to spiral, it becomes clear to Hannah that someone got away with murder years ago and unless they can be stopped, is going to kill again. And again…
Martin Edwards is known for many things – crime fiction historian (not like me, but a proper one), complier of short story collections (amidst other things) for the British Library Crime Classics range, and author of the recent Rachel Savernake books, Gallows Court and Mortmain Hall. Readers with longer memories will also know him as the writer of the Harry Devlin mysteries and this, the Lake District mysteries, the last of which, The Dungeon House, appeared in 2015. Now, six years later, Hannah Scarlett and Daniel Kind are back, in part due to fans of the series nagging Martin for another one. In part that may be because of the will-they-won’t-they relationship, which has moved on from the end of The Dungeon House in ways that may not please some readers, but I won’t say too much about that.
I’ve said this before, but one of Martin’s strengths is that even when writing a series of books, he never seems content to write the same book twice, and there is a central idea in The Crooked Shore that I am not convinced that I’ve seen before. For a long time reading the book, I wasn’t convinced of what direction the plot was moving in. The text focusses primarily on Hannah and a second character, Kingsley, a troubled man with secrets from the past who may or may not be a reliable character when it comes to seeing his thoughts. The story bounces between the strands very well, with the reader never quite knowing what aspects to focus on until the author decides to let you know. There are some clever reveals as to whether what Kingsley believes are or aren’t true, and the plot keeps moving forward well.
All in all, this is an engrossing read with some very clever ideas running through it. One part I did think was inevitable, and yet it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the whole when my guess proved correct, as while it was a biggish piece of the puzzle, it didn’t help with the whole thing. I did think that one action was a somewhat extreme solution to a problem that could have been much more easily resolved, but I only thought about that long after it happened, and this is hardly the only mystery novel where an easier method is ignored for a more dramatic one.
Overall, this is an excellent novel, one of the very best in the series to date. I’m guessing that this isn’t the end of the series – there’s an open issue at the end (not with the mystery) that will need resolving – but if Martin is willing to succumb to fan pressure to revive characters then the campaign starts here: BRING BACK HARRY DEVLIN!
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This is the last book in an excellent mystery series, a mix of police procedural and classic whodunnit that kept me turning pages as it’s a gripping and atmospheric story.
What happened in the past is affecting what is happening in the present, a cold case is being reopened as the son of the supposed culprit took his life as his father did.
This is the main plot, a supposed murder without a corpse. A supposed culprit who took his life. 
There are a lot of secrets in this story, there a lot of what if and you follow the investigation trying to understand if everything was done to discover the truth.
There’s a subplot involving other characters who seems loosely related to the main story. I didn’t like them at the beginning, but it grew on me and became another fascinating part of the story.
The plot is well crafted, Martin Edwards is a talented storyteller, and this story always kept my attention alive.
Hannah and her teams are well thought and likeable, clever and interesting. Tori is a fascinating character: a mysterious woman who is able to manipulate and get what she wants, even if I didn’t like her, I couldn’t help being fascinated.
There are some slow moments in the middle, but the last part was a rollercoaster, fast paced and action packed.
This book starts and end with a bang.
An excellent, gripping and highly entertaining story that I strongly recommended.
Many thanks to Allison & Busby and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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You can always rely on Martin Edwards for a well-written, pacy murder mystery. I am pleased to say that The Crooked Shore is no exception to the rule.  

Featuring Edwards’ series detective DCI Hannah Scarlett, this book focuses on a cold case disappearance of Ramona Smith and the tragic ripples the case caused throughout the close knit Lake District community. Hannah needs to solve the mystery quickly to prevent more deaths.

A solid four star good read, with beautiful scenery and deliciously nasty characters to be bumped off.

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for honest feedback.
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Superbly Drawn, Atmospheric Mystery….
The eighth outing in the Lake District Cold Case Mystery series from the talented Martin Edwards finds DCI Hannah Scarlett intrigued with the disappearance of Ramona Smith, a disappearance of over twenty years ago which has now come back into the public eye once again. Can the case be solved before more mindless killings occur? Superbly drawn, atmospheric mystery with an intriguing storyline and, as always, a wholly credible cast of characters. A worthy addition to this long running series.
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I am plunging in with book 8 and will now definitely go back to the beginning with this series.  Not knowing earlier books does not prevent the enjoyment of this story.  A good plotline, not too simple.  I did guess before the end but close enough not to spoil the outcome.  Thanks to Netgalley.
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What they say: So you want to know why I killed Ramona Smith?’ Hannah Scarlett is investigating the disappearance of a young woman from Bowness more than twenty years ago. Hannah’s former boss, Ben Kind, thought he knew what happened to Ramona Smith and the prime suspect was charged, but found not guilty. Now the case comes back into the public eye as the result of a shocking tragedy on the Crooked Shore, on the south coast of the county. Tensions mount in the summer heat as a ruthless killer who has already got away with one murder, plans further appalling crimes. Scarlett finds herself racing against the clock as she strives to solve the case.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. I've read others in the series and I think it helps if you read them in order, you have a better handle on the relationships between the characters, as with any series really. The stunning setting of the Lake District really shines thorough and the plotting is superb. Clever as ever, I would recommend!
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This is a wonderful series which never disappoints.  The writing is superb, the Lakeland backdrop is a delight, the characters are beautifully depicted and the plot is always enthralling.  In addition the personal lives of the principals are well represented and Hannah Scarlett is an excellent head of the cold case unit.  Long may this series continue!
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I really, really wanted to like this book. I'm a huge fan of the Lake District Mysteries and was so excited when I learned a new one was to come out.  In this outing DCI Hannah Scarlett and her meagre cold case team are tasked with investigating the disappearance and possible death of a young woman twenty years ago. Her mentor Ben Kind had been active in the initial investigation. She's also the lover of Daniel Kind, Ben's son, so reviewing the case challenges her objectivity. The premise is excellent but it just took too long to arrive at the conclusion. It really felt as if it was two books and the author couldn't decide until half way through which way to go and how to wrap them together. Sadly I was disappointed by this book.
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After a lengthy absence The Crooked Shore sees the return of Martin Edwards’ Lake District series featuring DCI Hannah Scarlett.

Scarlett heads a cold case team and the book is primarily about the reopening of a 21 years old case where the person charged was found not guilty.

The premis of the book was excellent and the beginning and end definitely delivered however the middle part focused too much on a couple of characters who whilst integral to the storyline did distract from the investigation.

Overall this was a pleasing return for a series that I do enjoy and hopefully the gap until the next book will be shorter.
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Thanks Netgalley nd the Publisher.   I really enjoyed this fast paced thriller,  great characters and a great storyline.   I shall be looking out for other titles from this author.
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I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.

When I requested it, I didn't realize it was the eighth in a series. It stood fairly well on its own, although at times I felt as if I was missing something. I couldn't get a handle on Daniel and Hannah's relationship at all, and the way Louise kept trying to set Daniel up with Alex was inexplicable to me.

Initially I found the Tory/Logan/Kingsley thread unpleasant, but it grew on me. The resolutions at the end were not at all clued for the reader and I didn't find them particularly likely, but the plot held together fairly well in retrospect. I would have preferred the balance of the narrative to be more heavily weighted towards the police procedural thread, but perhaps this series is always a blend of perspectives.
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Another great title by Martin Edwards . I really like the way he draws you into the plot .
His murder plots are never too gruesome which reflects on the beauty of where his novels are set , the beautiful Lake District.
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In his latest entry in his Lake District Mystery series, Edwards has DCI Hannah Scarlett looking into the case of a woman who disappeared over two decades earlier. Scarlett’s old boss, Ben (her lover’s father) believed he had solved the case years ago. Granted, the prime suspect was cleared of all charges, but Ben still believed he had his man. How could he have been so totally wrong? Now it appears that a killer that got away with murder once feels they can kill again with impunity> Fans of Edward’s long running series will be delighted with this story, it has all the beauty of the Lake District, the sharp wit of DCI Scarlett and a not too gruesome crime spree
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