Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Serpent Pool” as Want to Read:
The Serpent Pool
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Serpent Pool (Lake District Mystery #4)

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  326 ratings  ·  40 reviews
DCI Hannah Scarlett is determined to uncover the truth behind Bethany Friend's mysterious drowning in the Serpent Pool. Though the evidence at the time did not rule out suicide, why would Bethany, so afraid of water, choose drowning to end it all?
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Allison & Busby (first published January 1st 2010)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Serpent Pool, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Serpent Pool

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 444)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
Another great book in this Lake District series, featuring DCI Hannah Scarlett, heading up cold cases and Daniel Kind, the Oxford Don, who has left his position there for a quieter life in Brackdale. Daniel is back from the U.S. after spending some months taking on some work to subsidize his income and Hannah and Marc have bought a new house and Marc has opened a second bookshop. They are now living just in walking distance of the Serpent Pool, the scene of a suicide/murder some 6 years previous ...more
Clarissa Draper
Genre: Mystery
How I read it: I bought the book on amazon.

What attracted me to the book: I've read the book he wrote before this (The Cipher Garden) and loved it so much I had to pick up the next in the series.

Summary (from amazon): The musty, sedate world of old books provides the backdrop for a series of gruesome murders in Edwards's absorbing fourth Lake District mystery (after 2007's The Arsenic Labyrinth). Rare book dealers prove an unexpectedly randy lot as they are swept under by sexual un
This is a new author/series for me, so it is my first encounter in a series that has three prior novels. Set in the Lake District of England, DCI Hannah Scarlett works on the Cold Case Squad. Her unit is shorthanded owing to flu season, but she is looking for leads to a six-year old case. Two new deaths occur and they are curiously tied to each other through the world of book collectors. Her boyfriend owned a Used Book Shop and the two dead men were good customers. Finding the connections betwee ...more
Jill Hutchinson
In this entry in Martin Edward's Lake District series, the Cold Case Squad, headed by Hannah Scarlett is investigating the seven year old death of a young woman found drowned in mere inches of water. Hannah is determined to bring justice for the young woman's dying mother. Then two more murders occur in quick succession and it appears that there a connections to the cold case. The Squad encounters dark secrets and strange obsessions before this case is solved. This is a complex story with some v ...more
Nigel Bird
Over the Easter holidays I spent some time in the Lake District, always a restful place to be and a hugely stimulating one. The obvious read was something by Martin Edwards who has forged a great reputation with his Lake District mysteries. I plumped for The Serpent Pool (US) in the Hannah Scarlett series and it was a real winner.

For starters, I got exactly the sense of place that I wanted and felt soaked through with atmosphere (and, thankfully, not the usual rain as the weather was kind to us)
Reggie Billingsworth
As I make my way through Edward's Lake District series, albeit in a rather haphazard way as titles become available in the local library, I am finding I like his writing style more and more.
Characters are finely realised and their dynamics tethered out into a nice tension. When a writer can relax into a brief but exact commentary for a humane touch I appreciate it: "A quartet of Herdwick sheep surveyed the activity of the emergency services with bemused fatalism" just strikes me as a more sardo
Jun 18, 2010 Melissa rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melissa by: new book shelf
Shelves: mystery, read2010
Good news: decent puzzle; bad news: pretty flat writing, and Yet Another Psycho-Sexual* Motive.

*seriously, what happened to Greed? or Envy? I'd even take Sloth as a motive at this point. THAT would be interesting, wouldn't it?
An extraordinary number of cliches in one book, not to mention a farfetched story! Won't be reading any more by this author (I think I got muddled up with Martin Walker who I much prefer).
Mary Kay
This book takes place in The Lake District in the winter, which is mostly all it's got going for it.
Tricia Douglas
An English author; slow throughout. Finished it, but probably won't read another by this author.
Wow -- this one was a roller coaster albeit a gruesome one... very gruesome. Hannah is investigating the death of a young woman in what amounts to a puddle of water. Her friend Fern is investigating the murder of a wealthy book collector and a wealthy attorney who just happened to be involved with Daniel's sister, Louise. Another great mystery although I did guess who the suspect was although not completely - this one had a bit of a twist in it. I really like this series - it has elements of Deb ...more
Lizzie Hayes
‘The Serpent Pool’ by Martin Edwards
Published by Allison and Busby, February 2010. ISBN: 978-0-7490-0789-8

New Year's Eve, and DCI Hannah Scarlett is reluctantly readying herself for a party hosted by rich lawyer Stuart Wagg. But anything is an improvement after spending seven claustrophobic days at Christmas cheek by jowl with Marc's (her partner's) family. As Stuart is one of Marc's best customers, and having recently moved to a new house that needs a lot of work, they need all the money they c
Serpent Pool introduces the reader to the Lake District in Northern England. A couple from Oxford (Daniel Kind, historian) and London (Mirinda, journalist) decide spontaneously to buy a house together in a secluded valley, and to give up their busy lives for the quietness of the country. Turns out, Daniel has been there before as a kid, a friend from his childhood had been accused of a brutal rite-like murder (and died conveniently so that the accusation was never proven), and his estranged and ...more
Cathy Cole
I love how author Martin Edwards can weave together (1) a nuanced and compelling romantic triangle between Hannah, Daniel and Marc, (2) the glorious and sometimes creepy setting of England's Lake District, and (3) investigations into a fascinating cold case as well as one occurring in the present day. Every book in this series is consistently first-rate.

Even a description of setting like this one as Hannah hikes to the Serpent Pool tells you about her character:

"The sky was bruised. Livid patch
Ant Harrison
Book 4 of Martin Edwards’ Lake District series sees Hannah Scarlett trying to solve the barely cold case of the death of Bethany Friend, who drowned in the Serpent Pool six years earlier. There aren’t many clues as to what happened or to why she died, and the detecting doesn’t really begin until three quarters of the way through.

The claustrophobic atmosphere of the Lake District in winter is well realised Edwards’ knowledge of the locale and old books comes through strongly. There’s more focus
Amy Paget
Amy Paget says she has just finished this. "Searching for the truth behind a drowning in the Serpent Pool, DCI Hannah Scarlett is distracted by her doubts about her partner, bookseller Marc Amos, when one of Marc's customers is found burned to death."--Novelist. I always enjoy mysteries with a literary or bookselling subplot and this has both. The lead characters are very well drawn and its interesting to follow the trials and tribulations of female detectives in the British constabulary.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim Miller
Well plotted. Well written. Fine characterization. It was a fun summer read, though the end came a bit too quickly, and the rush to the story's final moments had all the unsatisfying crunch of falling off a three story building. I suppose in an ideal world, I'd give this three and a half stars, but because Edwards writes well, I'm leaning toward the four.
Emily Crow
Interesting mystery, set in England's Lake District. The ending was really far-fetched, though. And when I say far-fetched, I mean almost ridiculously so. Even so, this one is worth a read for mystery fans, especially if you like Thomas DeQuincey, whose work provides an unusual backdrop to the story.
Diane Heath
Book 3 of the Lake District mysteries was quite compelling. I did quickly figure out the common thread between the murders as well as the role of one killer. My interest was in the fate of one of the reoccurring characters which added suspense
This fourth in the Lake District series has Hannah taking center stage, with Daniel more in the background. While Daniel prepares, mostly behind the scenes, for a presentation at a De Quincey symposium and deals with the fall-out from Louise's love life, Hannah deals with a cold case connected to some current murders and with her relationship with Marc. This kept me guessing until the end, and as always, Edwards did a terrific job bringing the Lake District to life. I like Hannah and Daniel very ...more
Millie Aveyard
Oct 20, 2014 Millie Aveyard rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who likes a good detective/murder
Recommended to Millie by: bought it new off the shelf
I have to say that I really like all Martin Edwards books, as does my Daughter.

He is a Solicitor over in the North West and I am sure the fact he is a solicitor will help him with his stories, as me working within the University Department of Forensic Medicine many years ago, helps me.
Georgia Lengyel
Again, a very complicated mystery. The story and characters are well built. Only wish Daniel Kind was more a part of the story.
Hannah Scarlett, head of the Cumbria cold cases unit, and her significant other, book dealer Marc, have moved into a house near the site of an old crime. As Hannah investigates the old murder, she begins to wonder if it ties in to a series of current crimes, one of which involve Louise Kind. Louise and her brother, the disturbingly attractive Daniel, are the children of Hannah's now-deceased mentor. The character development in this series is really significant; this is another series where star ...more
Andy Weston
Living just outside the national park gives Edwards's books an added interest for me.

The tendency would be to over criticise, but I have enjoyed the first two Lake District mysteries he has written. This is not as string as the first as for me it stutters at times, and does not keep its pace going. An easy read though, in a great setting.
Good police procedural, although light on technical details and long on interpersonal relationship details. I like this series a lot, mostly because of the character of Daniel Kind, historian and television presenter. I wish the character of DCI Hannah Scarlett were more developed; the author definitely tells more about her than shows.
Patricia Gulley
Mar 17, 2010 Patricia Gulley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who loves british mystery series
I couldn't believe it when I saw this book was out. I loved the first three and loved this one too. The fact that it was more from Hannah Scarlett's POV this time made it all the better. First class as usual.
This is a great series. Just the kind I like. Love the characters, care about them, and like where they are located.
I read this book almost in one go. Martin Edwards has an easy style which manages to draw you in, at every page I thought I knew whodunit, but I kept turning the pages! It twists and turns and ends up not quite the way you thought! It's not so complex as to lose you, a jolly good read perhaps for those long train journeys
Matthew Ogborn
Three and a half stars for the latest Hannah and Daniel story. It felt very much like a transitional tale and, for the first time in four books, I struggled to get into it. Eventually Hannah's own woes with Marc and new character Greg won me round, but want more next time out
Hannah has to decide if the death of a book collector has anything to do with the cold case she is trying to solve. But when another book collector dies, she has to decide if the connection of the book seller, her boyfriend, has anything to do with the cases.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Where Death Delights (Dr Richard Pryor Mystery #1)
  • First Frost (Detective Jack Frost Prequel, #1)
  • The Cleansing
  • Grievous Angel
  • The Blood Whisperer
  • The Keeper of Secrets (Tobias Campion, #1)
  • The Broken Token
  • The King's Evil (Christopher Redmayne, #1)
  • City of Silver: A Mystery
  • The Merchant's House (Wesley Peterson, #1)
  • The Companion (Lizzie Martin, #1)
  • Vanishing Girls
  • Gently Does It
  • Cursed in the Act
  • Shadow of the Serpent (Inspector McLevy, #1)
  • Touch
  • The Devil's Garden
  • Good People
Martin Edwards was educated in Northwich and at Balliol College, Oxford University, taking a first class honours degree in law. He trained as a solicitor in Leeds and moved to Liverpool on qualifying in 1980. He published his first legal article at the age of 25 and become a partner in the firm of Mace and Jones in 1984.

He is married to Helena with two children (Jonathan and Catherine) and lives i
More about Martin Edwards...

Other Books in the Series

Lake District Mystery (7 books)
  • The Coffin Trail (Lake District Mystery #1)
  • The Cipher Garden (Lake District Mystery #2)
  • The Arsenic Labyrinth (Lake District Mystery #3)
  • The Hanging Wood (Lake District Mystery #5)
  • Frozen Shroud (Lake District Mystery #6)
  • The Dungeon House
The Coffin Trail (Lake District Mystery #1) The Cipher Garden (Lake District Mystery #2) The Arsenic Labyrinth (Lake District Mystery #3) The Hanging Wood (Lake District Mystery #5) Frozen Shroud (Lake District Mystery #6)

Share This Book

“He was never lonely, not with his books for company. Books never complained, never asked awkward questions.” 2 likes
More quotes…