(Review) The Body In The Ice, Hardcastle and Chaytor Mysteries, Book Two by A.J. Mackenzie

Publisher and Publication Date: Bonnier Zaffre. April 20, 2017. In America, available August 1, 2017.
Genre: English Mystery.
Pages: 368.
Source: Complimentary copy from Bonnier Zaffre.
Rating: Very Good.


Christmas Day, Kent, England, 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 at 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.

About the author: A.J. MacKenzie is the pseudonym of Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel, a collaborative Anglo-Canadian husband-and-wife duo. Between them they have written more than twenty non-fiction and academic titles, with specialisms including management, medieval economic history and medieval warfare.
The original idea for The Body…series came when the authors were living in Kent, when they often went down to Romney Marsh to enjoy the unique landscape and the beautiful old churches. The authors now live in Devon.
https://g.twimg.com/Twitter_logo_blue.png @AJMacKnovels                                http://www.ajmackenzienovels.com/


My Thoughts:
My favorite points in this story:
  1. The use of a dog breed I am unfamiliar with: The Irish Wolfhound. I loved having a secondary character be a devoted animal lover and using the dog as apart of the story. 
  2. Biracial and race issues in America and England. I've read books where racial prejudice is examined in America, but not a book set in England. Two of the characters are examined in how they feel about being bi-racial. They express tensions from both sides of races. They express how they deal with animosity. They express struggles in their extended family.
  3. An English mystery. I've read English mysteries with the time period of early 20th century, but not in the 18th century. 
  4. A clean story. The story is clean in regards to life situations and the murder itself.  
Until I read a bit about the temperament of an Irish wolfhound, I thought it odd in the story its behavior when intruders broke in the home. I was ready to put a mark against the book. I have since read about the dog breed and I stand corrected. The Irish Wolfhound is an independent and reserved type dog.
I felt surprised at the solving of the mystery. I had no idea this kind of plot was "cooking."
Over-all, The Body In The Ice is an enjoyable cozy story.