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The Coffin Trail

(Lake District Mystery #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,820 ratings  ·  190 reviews
Oxford historian Daniel Kind and his partner Miranda both want to escape to a new life. On impulse they buy a cottage in Brackdale, an idyllic valley in the Lake District. But though they hope to live the dream , the past soon catches up with him...

Tarn Cottage was once home to Barrie Gilpin, suspected of a savage murder. A young woman's body was found on the Sacrifice Sto
Hardcover, 286 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  1,820 ratings  ·  190 reviews

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David Evans
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I wanted to like this book having read some glowing reviews of The Lake District Mysteries. Perhaps it is a mistake to start with the first book of a series as there always has to be a lot of awkward scene-setting before the reader can relax and get on with enjoying the story. The whole of this volume seems to be taken up by an attempt to get the jigsaw of the characters into place in preparation for the next book. A good deal of back story is therefore woven into the plot which, otherwise, is f ...more
May 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having recently returned from a trip to England that included an amazing three days in the Lakes, I fully understand why people fall in love with the area. When Daniel Kind and his partner Miranda impulsively buy a cottage, I started to look at this as a how-to-guide. Okay, not really but the area plays a huge part in the atmosphere of the story.

This is the second in the series that I've read. I'm actually going to re-read The Arsenic Labyrinth now that I've The Coffin Trail. The characters are
Seth Lynch
Mar 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
This book was selected for the Isle of Man Crime Book Club read. I always feel I read the book s for this more harshly than I would if it were a book I’d selected myself. I had been thinking of reading a book by Martin Edwards as my future boss mention him in my job interview. He’s also coming to the Island on the 25th of June – If I am I’ll have to go a long to the Crime Evening he has organised. (as it turned out that was the day I left the Island so I missed this)

As for the book… It didn’t qu
Shirley Schwartz
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, mystery
This book was recommended to me as a first book in a police procedural series set in the UK, and, in this case, in the Lake District. I couldn't resist the title so I decided to read it. The book is very good indeed. We are introduced to quite a different protagonist. Daniel Kind is an Oxford don whose expertise is history. He has worked hard and has achieved tenure at Oxford University. Daniel has a backstory that is revealed intermittently throughout the book. To simplify, his father was a wel ...more
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I do enjoy very much Martin Edwards' introductions to the British Crime Library Series of mysteries so when I spotted this title, particularly as it had a Lake District setting, I thought I would give it a try. Unfortunately it was not the success that I hoped for as it proved rather dull in places and the characters were somehow rather flat and lifeless.

The storyline was just about okay in that Daniel Kind and his new partner, the vapid Miranda, relocated to the Lake District to get away from t
Sep 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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. Or was it more sinister?

Some lovely descriptive passages. One of my favorites was hi
Lyn Elliott
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, fiction
So much going on in relationships here that it's as much a soap as it is a mystery. The two central characters are clearly in relationships that should come unstuck. I wonder how long it will take for them to get together?
I quite enjoyed what will become a recurring partnership, I'm sure, between the detective and the historian, and the glimpses of the Lake District countryside.
Edwards could have written this with a television series in mind - it would translate well, especially if the charact
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is a decent English mystery set in the Lakes district. There's nothing to make it stand out too much from many other books of its type.

The few interesting bits were
-the main male character's father left his mother when he was 11 or 12 for another woman. His mother was so upset that she made it exceedingly difficult for his father to see his son and daughter. The father, not wanting to make his children's lives part of the war between him and his exwife, gave up. Now the father is dead and
Sep 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Eh. This entire series is about two people who are so clearly in the wrong relationships from the very first page that reading about their dumb love-life choices for a couple hundred pages just becomes annoying. Also, would a series of horrible murders really take place in a tiny town in the Lake District in England? I couldn't suspend my disbelief long enough to get invested. Which was too bad, because I liked the main characters when they weren't being doormats for their shitty significant oth ...more
Shawna Millard
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
The book was tedious at times, meandering here and there with odd scenes that tended to distract the reader from actually wanting to finish the book. Daniel also lost credibility as a character by being not only hard to relate to but seemingly shallow some of the time while trying to convince us he truly has some depth due to previous trauma. Hmmmm.
"Oxford historian and TV personality Daniel Kind and his new lover, Miranda, both want to escape to a new life. On impulse they buy Tarn Cottage in Brackdale, an idyllic valley in the Lake District that Daniel knew as a boy, a place so remote that the dead had to be carried out over the peaks on pack animals along the ancient Coffin Trail.

"Tarn Cottage was once home to Barrie Gilpin, an autistic youth suspected of a savage murder. A young woman visitor to the valley had been found laid out on th
John Lee
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do you get these feelings of deja-vu when you are reading?

In this case my very first inkling should have given me a clue but it didnt come for a few chapters until Daniel started to describe the semi derelict cottage they had bought and the practically wilderness of a garden in which it stood. As my read continued more bells started ringing, like when we found that Daniel's deceased father was a policeman and even more when we learned that the partner of his fathers old number two, ran a book s
Larry Fontenot
Jan 26, 2021 rated it liked it
My wife has read all of the Lake District Mystery books and said I might like them. So I started with the first book and enjoyed it greatly. The characters all seem "fish out of water" and that makes them intriguing. Daniel and Miranda are most obviously out of their normal environs by choice. Hannah seems deeply embedded in her professional life but is recently challenged with a transfer she does not desire. These circumstances make the police procedural involving an old crime then a newer murd ...more
Will Templeton
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
Good, engaging characters, interesting story, nice twist ending.
A mystery set in the Lake District, featuring historian Daniel Kind, who leaves his position as a historian at Oxford and relocates with his new partner Miranda to Brackdale, where he once spent his holidays as a child and met a friend there named Barrie Gilpin. Daniel’s father Ben left Daniel and his sister and mother when Daniel was young, Ben going off to live with another woman in the Lake District. Daniel is curious now to find out more about who his late father really was, what sort of man ...more
THE COFFIN TRAIL (Amateur Sleuth-England-Cont) – Okay
Edwards, Martin – Standalone
Poisoned Pen Press, 2004- Hardcover
Daniel Kind and his lover, Miranda, buy a house in the Lake Country; a house once lived in by a boy accused of murder, who was found dead of an accident. Daniel's policeman father investigated the case, but Daniel never believed the boy was guilty. Now Daniel is asking questions and causes the police to take a new look at the murder. The locals are not happy, particularly when some
Gordon Johnston
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
What appeared to be an interesting set up turned out to be a rather dull book. An Oxford don and his new partner set off for a life in the Lake District. The scenery and geography of the area are described in minute detail and repeatedly. And again. And again. Not so much sense of place as sensory overload.

The main plot relies on a series of coincidences all linked to an old murder. Things progress slowly before the reveal at the end.

This novel feels like something written in the fifties. It is
Vicky Thomasson
I wanted to read this book as I absolutely love my holidays in the Lakes and I love a good crime read. To say I wasn't disappointed to begin with would be a lie. I found it quite slow to get into the actual story and found the character 'Miranda' to be highly irritating. Having said that, I did end up enjoying the second half and found Hannah and Daniel to be very likeable characters. I loved the twist at the end and will be picking up another book from this series when I go back to the Lakes in ...more
Jan 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books-read
3.5 stars

I liked this book although I wasn't sure I would at first. The story ticks along nicely but if you are a fan of action packed thrillers then you would be disappointed. I liked the fact that when the murderer is revealed at the end of the story, it wasn't who I thought it would be. This is the first in a series of books and I will be reading the others when I can fit them in.
Svein F Hestvaag
May 06, 2016 rated it liked it
My first Martin Edwards read, guess it takes a little time to get used to... whatever. Not impressed, but ready for another Lake District mystery anyway. Agter all, he shares his name with the former Man U chairman :-)
Patricia Gulley
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This whole series is fabulous. Read them all.
Steph (loves water)
This wasn't so bad. I started out not really liking the protagonists, but through some great character development, the author redeemed himself. I will most likely read the next in this series. ...more
Cleopatra  Pullen
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-series, crime, own
The title has been chosen for the name given to the tracks which were used to transport bodies from the remote village to one with a graveyard. The symbolism of bodies being strapped to the horses for their final journey is one that resonates throughout this book.

As the book opens we meet Daniel Heard and his girlfriend Miranda buying Tarn Cottage in the fictional village of Brackdale on a whim while visiting the area for a short break. Daniel has tired in his role at Oxford University but it is
Oct 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
As with Durdles some four and a half years ago, I too wanted to like this book and the series after learning of their existence from an interview Edwards did with the incomparable Peter Lovesey, and having bought the first six Lake District books, probably fortunately second-hand.

So far I've struggled through this one and had to give up on the second, The Cipher Garden, after not many pages because the dizzy and quite unstable Miranda was still present and unreformed, although she's probably not
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it

This is another one of those books that has been sitting on my shelf for a while. It takes place in a small town in the Lake District of England. Daniel Kind, a well known historian and professor at Oxford is in love with Miranda a free lance features writer for magazines. On a holiday she talks him into buying a rundown cottage that once belonged to a boyhood friend when he and his family spent a summer holiday in the town. He had been thirteen at the time, but he didn’t write him as he had pro
Ray Carr
Jun 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Gauche, cliche-ridden and truly amateurish. This really is awkward writing par excellence.

Here are some examples from the Coffin Trail’s first couple of the chapters:

‘...rain greased his hair. The ground was like glue under his feet...he could see the future unfolding with the vividness of colour pictures in a horror comic strip...The pain was cruel...He didn’t pray–he’d never been able to imagine God...From the moment she’d seen the cottage, she had fallen head over heels...The two of them wer
Apr 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Blah. Just blah. Not terrible. Terrible I can toss aside and move on. No, this kept having hints that it might develop into something. That I might start discovering interesting bits about the setting, or that one of the characters might develop into someone I'd start to care about. That there would be an interesting twist, a scary moment, something to show that all the placidity on the surface was only an illusion and .... nope.

I will give credit to the fact that I didn't determine the murdere
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historical research vs police detection.. are they really that different

Oxford history professor celeb gives it all up to move to lake country with his girlfriend to "get away from it all". But history has a way of catching up with you. First of all They buy the home of his former boyhood pal who has since been accused of murder. Not only that but his father that abandoned him and his family when he was a child set up shop in the local police station and although now dead, Dan some holes he need
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the initial book that launched a series. A first book is always difficult as it appraises the reader of all the background however Martin Edwards carries it off wonderfully. A cold case that involves someone Daniel Kind once knew is reopened to coincide with his move to the Lake District, DCI Hannah Scarlett is in charge of looking into this case, she had originally worked with Daniels father. Daniel and his girlfriend Miranda are now living in the cottage where Barrie Gilpin lived, an a ...more
Mystic Miraflores
Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was slow to start and was repetitive in places. But it finally sped up and there was a surprise twist ending. There was more material about the civilian, Daniel, pushing to solve the case, which he did himself in the end. The police didn't really contribute to the solution. They were almost like bystanders. Inspector Hannah Scarlett didn't really show herself to be brilliant because it was Daniel who solved the case! So I don't know if I will read any more books in the series because ...more
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Martin Edwards’ latest novel, Gallows Court, was published in September. He is consultant to the British Library’s Crime Classics series, and has written sixteen contemporary whodunits, including The Coffin Trail, which was shortlisted for the Theakston’s Prize for best crime novel of the year. His genre study The Golden Age of Murder won the Edgar, Agatha, H.R.F. Keating and Macavity awards, whil ...more

Other books in the series

Lake District Mystery (8 books)
  • The Cipher Garden (Lake District Mystery #2)
  • The Arsenic Labyrinth (The Lake District Mysteries #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)
  • The Crooked Shore (Lake District Mystery #8)

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