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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Goodreads | Eric_W Welch (Forreston, IL)'s review of The Coffin Trail: A Lake District Mystery

Goodreads | Eric_W Welch (Forreston, IL)'s review of The Coffin Trail: A Lake District Mystery:

Daniel Kind and his new girlfriend have decided to leave their jobs and move to the country, to a country house that Daniel's childhood friend had lived in. Barrie, an autistic child, had been accused of the murder of a young woman whose body had been found on an old, archaeological sacrifice stone. Barrie could never be brought to trial because he had died that same night of the murder by falling down a ravine.

Some lovely descriptive passages. One of my favorites was his homage to bookstores: He found it without difficulty, one of half a dozen small businesses grouped around a large yard. Most of the units produced and sold crafts of one sort or another: wall hangings decorated with Lakeland themes, pottery and wooden gifts, hand-made greetings cards, and teddy bears with large, beseeching eyes. The bookshop occupied a section of a converted mill, the rear of which overlooked a weir. Rain was rattling on the gravel and although Daniel ran from his car, his sweatshirt was soaked by the time he was inside. The rich aroma of Kenyan coffee blended with the smell of old books and he recognised the andante movement of Hanson’s Romantic Symphony coming from discreet speakers near the entrance. The front part of the lower floor was devoted to fiction and the rear to the cafĂ©, which spilled out on to an elevated area of decking from which on a fine day customers could sit out and watch the beck rushing by.

Some reviewers have downgraded the book because they didn't like the characters. I'm not quite sure what they might think of Jim Thompson's or the Ripley books. I don't have that perspective. I don't need to like the characters, only to find them interesting. They are here. Admittedly some of the coincidences were a bit unlikely, e.g., that DCI Hannah Scarlett should have been Daniel Kind's father's sergeant.

BTW, one of the joys of reading on a Kindle is the instant dictionary feature. I had no idea what a "beck" and a "weir" were. Respectively, they are "a brook, especially a swiftly running stream with steep banks" and "a low dam that is built across a river to raise the water level, divert the water, or control its flow." Both parochial northern England definitions. Nice words.
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