The Arsenic Labyrinth
The evocative and compelling cold case mystery
Daniel Kind's relationship with Miranda is on the rocks. After the bright lights of London, Miranda feels isolated in the Lake District and Daniel fears that she will just up and leave. And Miranda wouldn't be the first: ten years ago Emma Bestwick left her cottage and never returned. Her disappearance went unaccounted for, much to the chagrin of DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of the local Cold Case Review Team.
But in a small, rural community, someone is bound to know something. And that someone has recently started calling the local newspaper and dropping hints about Emma's death. With the case reopened, Hannah and Daniel are drawn together again, and discover to their cost that one person will preserve the secrets of the past at any price.
Edwards's crisply written third contemporary mystery set in England's Lake District (after 2005's The Cipher Garden) turns on the unsolved disappearance of Emma Bestwick, a woman who went missing a decade earlier. Guy Koenig, a con man recently released from prison, makes an anonymous phone call about Emma's fate to a local journalist who has just revisited her story. DCI Hannah Scarlett, who headed the original inquiry, now focuses her cold case squad on the matter. The predictable police procedure reinterviewing relatives and friends of the missing woman gets underway, making little progress until the police receive a tip as to the location of Emma's body. Edwards injects cryptic excerpts of another murder mystery into the narrative and rounds out the story with hints of a frustrated attraction between Hannah and historian Daniel Kind, whose father, Ben, was her mentor. Though the suspense and resolution of the secondary mystery distract from Emma's story, this is solid fare for fans of modern British police procedurals.