I love this series of murder mysteries set in the late 18th century. I've read all three now and I think this one is my favourite. It starts with Amelia Chaytor being invited to Christmas dinner with her friends, the elderly Miss Roper and Miss Godfrey. It's not going well but things perk up considerably when one of the servants rushes in to say he's found a dead body frozen into the pond. How is the recently deceased connected to the American family who are about to arrive in the village? And just what is the forgotten secret of their old manor house?
In the first book, the Rev Marcus Hardcastle had been sent to St Mary in the Marsh as a form of punishment. Now he's been 'promoted' to Justice of the Peace, although he hopes it is only temporary. His investigation is helped by local widow Amelia Chaytor, whose late husband seems to have been some kind of diplomat/spy, and many of the eccentric characters from the first book also return - Mrs Kemp, Marcus's grumpy housekeeper; the smuggler, Yorkshire Tom; the spinster old ladies, Miss Roper and Miss Godfrey, who are far more savvy than anyone ever gives them credit for and never miss a thing.
The Body in the Ice is a clever, twisty, murder mystery embellished with lots of authentic period detail. The American War of Independence is touched upon, along with slavery. The story raced along to a nail-biting conclusion. I loved the characters and the humour, I particularly loved the addition of Marcus's sister Calpurnia, who writes gothic romantic fiction, and her cowardly dog, Rodolpho.
Brilliant stuff! I loved it. And I can't wait for the next one!