So pleased to be on the blog tour today for The Body in the Ice by A.J Mackenzie!
I am coming at you today with an extract of this period mystery; I am having some serious computer issues currently, so my review for this novel will follow..so stay tuned!
Keep reading for a synopsis of this book and to catch a sneak peak of this novel
Christmas Day, Kent, 1796
On the frozen fields of Romney Marsh stands New Hall; silent, lifeless, deserted. In its grounds lies an unexpected Christmas offering: a corpse, frozen into the ice of a horse pond.
It falls to the Reverend Hardcastle, justice of the peace in St Mary in the Marsh, to investigate. But with the victim’s identity unknown, no murder weapon and no known motive, it seems like an impossible task. Working along with his trusted friend, Amelia Chaytor, and new arrival Captain Edward Austen, Hardcastle soon discovers there is more to the mystery than there first appeared.
With the arrival of an American family torn apart by war and desperate to reclaim their ancestral home, a French spy returning to the scene of his crimes, ancient loyalties and new vengeance combine to make Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor’s attempts to discover the secret of New Hall all the more dangerous.
The Body in the Ice, with its unique cast of characters, captivating amateur sleuths and a bitter family feud at its heart, is a twisting tale that vividly brings to life eighteenth-century Kent and draws readers into its pages.
The door of the common room slammed open. A messenger, a volunteer in mud-splattered overcoat and breeches, dripping water, stood breathless in the doorway.
‘We’ve spotted two of them, sir! Along the drain between Brenzett and Snargate.’
Clavertye came out of his office at once, followed by his secretary. ‘What happened?’
‘They were working their way along the sewer, using the bank as cover. When they saw us, they dived into the water.’
‘Comb the banks, both sides. They’ll have to come out of the water somewhere; find out where.’ He turned to the secretary. ‘Have the bloodhounds arrived?’
‘That’s them you can hear, my lord. Also, the prison van has just arrived.’
‘Damn! I had forgotten. That complicates matters.’
‘What is it?’ asked Hardcastle.
‘This latest sighting is damned close to the Appledore road. It runs through Brenzett and Snargate, doesn’t it? And that’s the very route by which I had intended to send the prison van and escort. I’ll lay money those fellows Austen’s men spotted were waiting to ambush the van and spring Rossiter free. Well, by God, we’ll turn the tables on them.’
Orders came quickly to Clavertye’s lips, as they always did. He turned to his secretary. ‘Tell the commander of the prison van escort to use the coast road. He can then take the turnpike from Dover to Maidstone. And tell him he is not to stop for anyone or anything. Those are my express orders, clear? Then, tell the keeper to take the dogs out to Brenzett.’ He turned to the messenger. ‘You’ll go with the dogs, and relay my orders to Captain Austen. Search both banks of the sewer and find where the French came out of the water. Then get the dogs onto the scent. Off you go.’
Tension and excitement thrummed in the air. Hardcastle listened to the yelping of the dogs and watched Clavertye, his face hard and set, the lamplight glinting off the distinguished silver hair at his temples. He scents a triumph, the rector thought. He anticipates the successful capture of the spies, the stories in the newspapers lauding his skill and determination, the acclamation of society. All will be grist to his political mill.
But the dogs went out and hunted, and the searchers searched until a pink rain-washed sunset faded and twilight drew down. They found nothing.