The Frozen Shroud
Review: Two murder cases that eerily share a number of common elements might be considered related … except the victims died nearly a century apart. But when a third murder investigation, this one much more recent and remarkably similar to the others, lands on the desk of DCI Hannah Scarlett, she has no choice but to take another look at what were once considered open-and-shut cases from the past in The Frozen Shroud, the sixth "Lake District" mystery by Martin Edwards.
Just before the First World War, a young housemaid living in Ravenbank was killed on Halloween, her face, battered beyond recognition, covered her face with a crude wool blanket. The person widely believed to have killed her had taken poison and was dead the next day. The dead woman's husband was said to have died from a broken heart a year or so later. So, the story had been told over and over, so much so that many believe the "Faceless Woman" can be seen roaming the fields every Halloween. Five years ago, another young woman was found murdered in the same area, her face battered and covered with a shroud, just as the housemaid's was almost one hundred years before. The suspected killer was found dead the following day supposedly due to a car accident. In each case the prime suspect died within a day of the victim. Cases closed. Neat and tidy … and convenient for everyone involved.
It is now Halloween again and another young woman has been found dead in the same area, killed in a nearly identical manner to the others. Three young women dead in Ravenbank on Halloween. Even allowing for the fact that the murders span a century, it is impossible not to suspect there is a connection. DCI Hannah Scarlett, in charge of the Cold Case Review Team, has been assigned the case. She turns to Daniel Kind, a specialist in the history of uncommon reasons for deaths, especially murders, for assistance. He speculates that the first two murders may not have been committed by the obvious suspects, and finds it unusually coincidental that both suspects were dead themselves soon thereafter. He believes that if Hannah can solve the century-old murder of the "Faceless Woman", that she'll have the information she needs to identify her latest killer.
The Frozen Shroud is 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.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Frozen Shroud.
Acknowledgment: Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity provided a copy of The Frozen Shroud for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Serpent Pool
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), February 2010
ISBN-13: 9781590585931; ISBN-10: 1590585933
The Dungeon House
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), September 2015
ISBN-13: 9781464203183; ISBN-10: 1464203180
Location(s) referenced in The Frozen Shroud: England's Lake District
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The Frozen Shroud by Martin Edwards — A Lake District Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: April 2013
List Price: $24.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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