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The Thirteenth Coffin

(DCI Mark Lapslie #4)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A heart-stopping delve into the twisted mind of a serial killer from the creator of the hit BBC drama Silent Witness. Perfect for fans of M.J. Arlidge and Angela Marsons.

Stretching along the shelf, standing upright, were twelve wooden coffins. Nine were closed, and three open . . . with little dolls standing inside them . . .

It was supposed to be the most special day of
Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published December 31st 2015 by Quercus
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  157 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Jul 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a police procedural set in Essex. Divorced DCI Mark Lapslie is an unusual cop with a crippling condition where he experienced extreme synaesthesia which can overwhelm his senses. He is on meds which helps but he relies on DS Emma Bradbury to organise his life and other people so that he is able to function. He has a relationship with Charlotte, a medical doctor, which is working despite him being a committed police officer on constant call. He is called out to a tramp's death in a ...more
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, crime, british, series
“There will be time to murder and create.”

A page-turner. An intriguing and unpredictable plot. A shocking ending.
A serial murderer with a knack for making dolls. A killer to be reckoned with. A killer who has been murdering undetected for seven years.

A bride is shot to death on her wedding day.

Thirteen small coffins are found in an abandoned bunker. Nine of them contain handmade dolls. Each damaged or disfigured differently. Three of the coffins are empty, a doll yet undamaged positioned next
Liz Barnsley
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed The Thirteenth Coffin. It was really uber creepy crime which always appeals to me - those tiny dolls in those tiny coffins *shudder*

I love Lapslie too - he's a great addition to the memorable detective group, his condition making things just that bit more interesting. It actually works strangely well knowing how other characters might taste as well as act and look. Yes ok I'm a little strange myself but it is a fascinating condition - one I've come across before with other
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-thrillers
Thirteen Coffins – A Good Twisted Thriller

Thirteen Coffins is the fourth in the DCI Mark Lapslie series by TV screenwriter Nigel McCrery, which draws you and keeps you captivated until the end. This story builds on an nineteenth century legend around the time of Burke and Hare, when some tiny dolls in coffins were found in a cave under Edinburgh. The stage is set and has been moved to modern day Essex, and seen through the narrative of those who are killed as well telling the story from the
Joanne Robertson
Dec 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
**Possible spoiler alert**
This is the first book I have read by this author and I would be quite happy to read another especially if it featured DCI Mark Lapslie who was a rather intriguing character due to the fact he suffers (if this is the right word for this curious condition!) from synaesthesia. I actually stopped reading the book at the point I found out this so that I could Google the condition and the many forms that it may take. In the case of Lapslie, he "tastes" the flavours of what
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
The idea of this book came from an actual event ( Scotlands Minature Coffins ) & the premise is that twelve wooden coffins are found in a cold war bunker, 9 closed & 3 open, the open ones with dolls at their side. One doll is dressed as a bride, &, coincidentally a bride has just been murdered, shot on her wedding day. DCI Lapslie believes the dolls are linked to the bride's murder....especially when the the doll is defaced with blood in a way to resemble the victim. So who do the ...more
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, net-galley, kindle
A new author to me and this is part of a series- so one that I will be keen to discover and read.

A detective finds a dead tramp in a bunker- but when they investigate they find something that suggests they might be looking for other crimes connected to mini coffins and wax dolls found at the scene. Some of the dolls are in the coffins- but others dressed as various professions still stand outside. What is the significance and just what will they unearth?

I loved the way that the story unfolded
Breakaway Reviewers
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You do not have to read this book. But it may harm your defence if you do not. Anything you do read can be given in evidence.

May I make a suggestion? Before you read this book? The suggestion is this; allow yourself plenty of time because you will not want to put it down.

This is such a satisfying read. It’s well written, concise but not brief, all we need to know is given to us. The characters are accessible and crucial to the development of the story. There’s an element of predictability to
Cleopatra  Pullen
Dec 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-series, own
Flicking through NetGalley as I do on a far too regular basis I came across The Thirteenth Coffin, recognising the author’s name from the excellent non-fiction Silent Witnesses, an engaging read on the history of forensics, that I read a couple of years ago, I decided to try this fiction novel, the fourth featuring DCI Mark Lapslie.

Nothing whets my appetite when it comes to serial killers than one that has a novel method, motivation or detective. This book seemed to fit the bill, the police
Book Review originally published here:

I loved how the book was based on a legend, but unfortunately I did not like the book as much as I had hoped. Despite that, a lot of people seem to like it, so please don’t let my review put you off from reading. I felt disconnected from the characters and wasn’t too fond of the writing.
Denise Cowling
Mar 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Great read but not for the faint-hearted.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Kind of dull and the ending was stupid
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
I think this was the best of the four I have read, hope the next one is just as good.
Pauline Chamberlain
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love these books, really gritty thriller, good crime novel to read by the creator of silent witness
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Good characters with a clever plot and a good investigation. The ending worked for me.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am not a huge fan of police procedurals but really enjoyed this one
First book I have read by this Author. Fourth in series, I don't think it is essential to read in order. I read this book in 5 days, it was hard to put down. It is a UK crime thriller. I will shortly read the first three in the series
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Thirteenth Coffin is #4 in a series of books featuring detective Mark Lapslie. I haven't read any of the previous books, and didn't find this a problem; it's a good stand-alone read. Having said that, I did find the first half a dozen or so pages rather odd, and was tempted not to continue reading! Leslie is hampered by synaesthesia meaning that sounds translate into tastes for him; voices in particular offer a rich variety of tastes, and he struggles to keep his environment clear from ...more
I kind of liked this book. It appeared on my Kindle despite me having now knowledge of pre-ordering it, however it was good to pass the time on the train. Having no prior knowledge of the storyline I was fairly pleased when it was set near places that I used to live and now miss living near, it's just a shame that there wasn't more description of the places. Finchingfield is a genuinely beautiful little gem in the Essex countryside but the book doesn't tell you that - if you didn't know that ...more
Mary Johnson
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it

I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A fairly compelling story that held me and some interesting characters that may draw me into other books in the series.

Inspired by a 'for real' mystery of miniature coffins found in Edinburgh, the author has cleverly crafted the plot into a serial killer on a quest and I enjoyed it. However, I wonder whether the author also 'discovered' synaesthesia as a condition and felt moved to also use this in the story.... The condition may be intriguing
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reading a DCI Mark Lapslie book is like reconnecting with an old friend. I love hearing how he is coping with his synaethesia (ability to taste sounds) and his team at work.

In this book 12 dolls are found, 9 in coffins and 3 not. Then a woman is shot on her wedding day and a tenth doll is placed into its coffin. Lapslie and his team have to work out who the dolls represent, whether they have all been murdered and who the remaining dolls are representative of, as well as who the killer is.

Linda  Branham Greenwell
I absolutely love these books. Detective Lapslie has synesthesia ( he tastes sounds). And this book is one of my favorite so far. I really enjoyed that it was based on actual miniature coffins
Anyway, miniature coffins are discovered - each one with a doll dressed in specific type clothes - for example a nurse, a bride, a soldier, a mechanic, etc. All very strange and unusual. But then a bride is murdered... which leads the investigation a whole new direction
It was full of twists and turns and I
Rita Berk
Set in England, DCI Mark Lapslie investigates a serial murderer who, for each victim, leaves a doll in a coffin dressed in the victim's clothes. Lapslie and his team search for a link between victims, many of whom had looked like accident victims at the time of their deaths. Lapslie is intended to be the thirteenth victim. Good story. For no apparent plot reason, Lapslie suffers from synesthesia.
Jan 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved the concept of this book, tiny dolls in coffins representing each victim; spooky and intriguing. Some of the characters throughout the book seemed to bring very little or nothing to the story and could have been left out, unless they have a part to play in a future novel maybe? Overall I would rate this book just above 3 stars but not quite 4 stars.
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly engaging and had a fair few twists in there.

This was the first in the series I had read and I did not feel like I was missing out on something.

One issue with the book was the amount of typos, so sometimes I had to stop and work out what the actual word was.

I did not even mind the lack of chapters.
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I couldn't put it down!
Reading how Lapslie, with synaesthesia, and Bradbury find the killer of the 12 dead people who'd had wax dolls made as trophies...
A mystery thriller that will take your breath away.
Denise Grant
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nigel McCrery never fails to have me guessing who the killer was. This is a brilliant read. Will keep you guessing. When you have to do normal life you will be thinking about this book!
michelle dickson
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fast paced thriller

This is certainly a page turner thoroughly enjoyed it couldn't put it down great plot and characters in this book
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Nigel Colin McCrery is an English screenwriter and ex-police officer.

Other books in the series

DCI Mark Lapslie (6 books)
  • Still Waters: A Mystery
  • Tooth and Claw
  • Scream: A Dci Mark Lapslie Investigation
  • Flesh and Blood: DCI Mark Lapslie (Book 5)
  • Bloodline (DCI Mark Lapslie #6)