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The Cipher Garden (Lake District Mystery #2)

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  688 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Warren Howe is surprised by a hooded visitor while working in a garden in Old Sawrey, a lovely village in England's Lake District. Soon it is Warren who is deadmurdered with his own scythe. The police identify several suspects, but lack the evidence to make an arrest.
Years later, an anonymous tip sparks the interest of DCI Hannah Scarlett, who heads the local Cold Case Re
Hardcover, 266 pages
Published November 30th 2005 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published 2005)
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Ant Harrison
Nov 07, 2011 Ant Harrison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
The Cipher Garden by Martin Edwards is another in his 'Lake District' mystery series. Historian-cum-amateur detective Daniel Kind is drawn into another crime from the past after trying to discover the 'secrets' of the garden at his new cottage. Coincidently this links with the unsolved murder of Warren Howe, which is being investigated by DCI Hannah Scarlett. Hannah and Daniel are attracted to each other (in a very drag-it-out, let's pretend it's not happening kind of way) and some of the back s ...more
May 02, 2016 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Loved it, loved it, loved it! It had everything that I enjoy. It's a murder mystery set in England. There are many complicated relationships that keep getting more and more interesting. Finally, the ending completely surprised me. It just doesn't get any better than this! I am already signed up for Book #3 in the Lake District mystery series.
John Lee
I have had this one on my shelf for a while but after several attempts to get my hands on the first of the series had failed, I decided to make a read this one anyway.

I was glad that I started one of my character maps early on because the characters of the village were introduced thick and fast. Without my diagram with its connecting arrows I dont think that I would have got the players in the story and their complex relationships past and present, clear in my mind as quickly. I realised , a lit
Jun 05, 2015 Christiane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
According to my 50-page rule I will now give this book a miss. If a mystery writer hasn’t been able to spark my interest after 50 pages it’s probably a hopeless case.

So far this has been just a lot of wisecracking police banter, people attracted to other people’s partners, troubled pasts and definitely too much of the “human touch”. And all of that written in a very basic style.

Though I seem to have outgrown Agatha Christie’s mysteries there is one thing to be said for her : Insted of wasting 50
Sharon Mensing
Sep 05, 2010 Sharon Mensing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually, I'd give this a 4 1/2 stars, but no halves are available in Goodreads. This is the second in a series set in the English country side and starring a cold-case detective and historian who have feelings for each other but are also in relationships with others. The characters are very well realized, and the setting is brought to life. The story line here has to do with obsession and its effects on both those who are obsessed and those who are the objects of the obsession. A husband and wi ...more
Nov 30, 2011 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
On the basis of a very flimsy tip. DCI Hannah Scarlett, as head of the cold case team, decides to reopen the case of Warren Howe, murdered with his own scythe several years previously. Daniel Kind, a historian and former Oxford don, is also interested in the case as well as discovering the secret of the strange garden at his cottage. The murder mystery is a bit thin. However, the book was very unsatisfying in repeatedly referring to the strangeness of the garden, but never giving the slightest d ...more
Jan 16, 2012 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
THe story took a long time to really get going and I guessed the murderer. Not as good as The Coffin Trail but I would still read the next one as I like the main characters and it will be interesting to see what happens to them next.
Feb 15, 2016 Kevin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First time I read this author and being completely honest I really struggled to get through it. The pace of the book was very slow and I could not engage with the characters very well. This does not compare particularly well to other top authors of this genre.
Feb 26, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting cold case mystery set in Lake Country of England. I'm a softie for a setting of small British villages and tangled webs that characters weave.
Svein F Hestvaag
May 20, 2016 Svein F Hestvaag rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I laked this one (got the pun there?). Ready for arsenic intoxication now.
Barbara A. Gray
Nov 06, 2016 Barbara A. Gray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kept me guessing.

This read started out interesting and did not stop. It is the first book I've read in this series however it is not the first book which did not prove a hindrance. I am now interested and will purchase the first book.
Cleo Bannister
In the Lake District with its unpredictable weather and beautiful scenery with the appealing Daniel Kind, historian who finds parallels between his specialism and the work of a detective, particularly when the crimes reach back in time.

I really enjoyed the first of Martin Edwards’ The Lake District Mysteries, The Coffin Trail and fortunately I had already purchased the second in the series. The key mystery in this book is the death many years ago of Warren Howe, a gardener, not greatly liked (in
Clarissa Draper
Jun 26, 2010 Clarissa Draper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edward-martin
Genre: Mystery
How I read it: I own it.

What attracted me to the book: I read the author's blog and mainly because books of this genre are my favorite.

Who should read this book: If you love mysteries... it's for you!

Summary (from amazon): When the body of Warren Howe, master landscaper and equally masterful ladies' man, is found hacked apart with a scythe in a garden in Old Sawrey, England, suspicion falls on his wife, Tina, in Edwards's engaging second Lake District mystery (after 2004's The Coff
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
Book 2. from the Lake District series, where we again meet DCI Hannah Scarlett who heads up a team investigating cold cases and Daniel Kind, a historian who has given up his job in Oxford University, to live a quite, idyllic life in an area of the Lake District where his father lived and worked as a policeman and was Hannah's boss and mentor. Daniel is anxious to find out all he can from Hannah about his father, who is now deceased, as he left his family for another work when Daniel and his sist ...more
Jun 15, 2016 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Simon Exton
Dull, plodding book with two-dimensional characters and a couple of flimsy mysteries. The question of the cypher garden is settled in about 4 pages, and then completely forgotten. The murder mystery itself, when it finally gets resolved, is pedestrian. The two investigators spend forever playing the "will they, won't they" dance, while bemoaning their respective partners. Most of the book is taken up with this wishy-washy half-romance. If you want to read a romance novel, I'm sure there's better ...more
Mickey Hoffman
Oct 18, 2011 Mickey Hoffman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A traditional mystery. Finally! Not a "thriller" where I know who dunnit on page three. The garden is only one thread of the story and more of a subplot. No need to avoid the book if you're not into gardening because the book's not about that. It's about a small country town and the interesting people who live there, both newcomers and natives. The MC is a former history professor whose father was a detective in that same locality. He's moved there now to escape the academic grind. His father's ...more
Aug 16, 2013 Monica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is only the second book in Martin Edwards series that takes place in the Lake District of England...and it grabbed me as much as the first one did. Edwards is a wonderful descriptive author...I feel like I’m walking through this beautiful region of the Lake District. This is the perfect book if you enjoy mysteries that take place in small English villages...where gossip is a way of life and everyone knows everyone else. Amazing that a murder can go unsolved for so long...that is until DCI H ...more
This is the second in the series that I have read and I feel that as a series it is starting to pick up pace. For some reason I found it hard to remember the connections between some of the characters in this story- they all seem to be ex partners of each other.

DCI Hannah Scarlett has reopened the case of Warren Howe who was murdered folowing a a tip off. Daniel Kind is uncertain as to why his garden is laid out the way it is and his investigating into this ends up tying in with Hannah's investi
Melissa Darnold
This series just continues to please the bibliophile and mystery lover in me. Martin Edwards writes in such a cozy manner and I always feel like lighting a fire and curling up in front of it; even if it happens to be in the middle of Spring. The characters of Daniel and Hannah are complex and complicated and I like them very much. Even Daniel's uptight sister is an enjoyable character. I'm very pleased with this mystery and this book altogether. Very well done.
This is book #2 in the Lake District mystery series (home of Beatrice Potter). Don't know how I skipped book #1 but because I had a difficult time getting through this book, I won't be reading anymore in the series. I didn't like the plot or the characters and thought the author wasted an opportunity of describing this lovely area. DCI Hannah Scarlett heads up the cold case division and while she is looking into a cold case of murder by scythe in a secret garden, there is another murder.
Nov 06, 2014 Plum-crazy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A beautifully crafted book, & for lovers of the Classic Whodunnit, there's a delicious twist in the tale"...yes, I'd say that pretty much summed this tale up!

While it's not a gritty, gory tale (the sort I love!) it's a bit more than what I'd class as a "cosy mystery". There is indeed a twist at the end which I sort of saw coming but got slightly wrong! I won't say more as I don't want to spoil it for future readers but would recommend it :o)
Sep 25, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a nice second mystery in the Lake District by Martin Edwards. This story was full of realistic people, living their lives in a small village. A murder 10 years ago gets revisited when the family of the victim get poison pen letters. This includes the cold case squad and when they start questioning the friends and relatives, secrets get revealed and emotions flare. I would not hesitate to pick up another in this series, if I run across one.
Feb 07, 2015 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this second in the Lake District Mystery series much better than the first one (The Coffin Trail). Perhaps it's because I'm getting used to his oh-so British style or because not a lot of time was spent rehashing the characters' histories, or just because it was much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, my library doesn't have any more in this series so I've already purchased the next in the series. Can't wait to read it!
Apr 28, 2014 Jo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second in the series and better than the first-just. As I splurged on all the books in the series I will read them all but they are a disappointment and not nearly as good as I hoped they would be. I'm always on the look out for a new crime author who has been prolific but these are very slow going, predictable and eminently guessable. If you're on holiday and someone has left one by the pool then read it or pick it up in a charity shop or kindle freebie then fine-otherwise don't bother
Jul 01, 2011 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable mystery set in the English lake district. The story mixes personal story lines with the mystery. The lead characters are a retired British Oxford history professor who has moved to the Lake District and who loves mysteries and the younger Detective Chief Inspector in charge of cold cases. Besides becoming involved in a cold case murder investigation, the professor also is trying to unravel the meaning of the overgrown cipher garden in his new home.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 25, 2014 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-edition
I liked this #2 of the series quite well. Not quite as well as the 1st on but again, this one also kept me guessing. I didn't figure out who did it until much, much later in the story and then I never figured out the why until it was revealed. Martin Edwards writes a great mystery. I'm still trying to figure out why Daniel Kind is still with Miranda but perhaps he'll come to his senses later on in the series. For now though, I'm enjoying these wonderful mysteries during this cold winter season!
Sep 16, 2010 Charlotte rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Claire Futrell
I always enjoy the Lake District Mysteries, but I always find myself getting sort of lost in all of the characters. I love the recurring ones but whenever I start one of these books, I have to make a list of all of the people in the town with small notes beside their names just to keep them straight.
Loved the twist in this one, even if it did make me a bit queasy.
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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 Arsenic Labyrinth (Lake District Mystery #3)
  • The Serpent Pool (Lake District Mystery, #4)
  • The Hanging Wood (Lake District Mystery #5)
  • The Frozen Shroud (Lake District Mystery, #6)
  • The Dungeon House (Lake District Mystery #7)

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“He loved the smell and feel of old books. To hold them was to touch the past.” 8 likes
“Gets blamed for a lot of things, does the weather. Convenient scapegoat, if you ask me.” 1 likes
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