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THE FROST FAIR [Paperback]

Edward Marston
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 15 2004
Christmas, 1669. In the grip of the coldest winter for years, the River Thames is frozen from bank to bank and London celebrates with a traditional frost fair held on its broad back. Revellers come from far and wide to enjoy the spectacle.Among the throng is ambitious young architect Christopher Redmayne. By chance he meets a good friend, Constable Jonathan Bale, attending with his family. As the adults talk, Bale s sons skate around them. But their competitive nature spells trouble onto thin ice and is in danger of crashing into the freezing water below. Christopher and Jonathan save the boy but make a chilling discovery the frozen corpse of a naked man embedded in the ice.Bale vows to investigate but Christopher sees no reason to involve himself further until his own brother Henry is accused of the murder and thrown in jail. Now Henry faces execution if Christopher cannot prove his innocence. The architect must risk all he holds dear, both professionally and personally, to uncover the truth.

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From Amazon

Rather than exacerbating that winter's gloom, a sudden freezing-over of London's Thames River in 1669 becomes a cause of public delight in Edward Marston's The Frost Fair. "In place of a river, we have the widest street in Europe," exclaims architect Christopher Redmayne, as he observes the myriad merchants and entertainers who've mounted an eccentric celebration on the ice. But this revelry soon cools, after Redmayne and his sober-sided associate, Constable Jonathan Bale, discover a corpse trapped in the glacial crust. The deceased is Jeronimo Maldini, an Italian fencing master who was stabbed with a dagger belonging to none other than Redmayne's foppish, pleasure-seeking elder brother, Henry. Though once friendly, those two gents evolved into bitter foes, and Henry had rashly threatened to slay the duelist. Most Londoners, including Bale, are convinced of Henry's guilt, and the accused was too inebriated on the night of the murder to be sure of his own innocence. Christopher, however, is sure, and so sets off to find the real killer--an errand that will find him nearly drowned in the Thames and crossing swords with a "hero" of dubious acclaim. Meanwhile, the designer detective must fend off the amorous advances of a new client and, not insignificantly, prevent Henry's suicide in squalid Newgate Prison.

Although The Frost Fair is actually the fourth of British author Marston's Redmayne/Bale novels, it's the first to see U.S. publication. Like its predecessors, this circuitously plotted work adroitly portrays the alternately respectable and ribald atmosphere of post-Great Fire London. Christopher Redmayne, who labors to restore his city in the shadow of real-life architect Christopher Wren, has matured into a credible sleuth, bedeviled by his sybaritic sibling but forging a relationship of grudging respect with the puritanical Bale. If the tone of this series isn't quite so jauntily whimsical as that of Marston's better-known Nicholas Bracewell books (The Bawdy Basket, etc.), The Frost Fair nonetheless proves itself an historical mystery with thrills on top of chills. --J. Kingston Pierce --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

An unexpected blizzard paralyzes London and provides a chilling venue for murder in this Restoration-era mystery. After the storm subsides, the city remains at a standstill. Even the Thames is frozen, presenting Londoners with the unique opportunity of hosting a Frost Fair on the river. When the body of a well-known Italian fencing master is discovered beneath the ice, architect Christopher Redmayne and constable Jonathan Bale once again join forces to solve the crime. This time the investigation takes on a more personal tenor because Christopher's brother, Henry, is the primary suspect. Desperately trying to prove his brother's innocence and to protect Susan Cheever, his inquisitive love interest, from harm, the wily young architect-cum-detective has his capable hands full. Though he churns out volumes in the Nicholas Bracewell series, the Domesday Books, and the Redmayne Mysteries at an unbelievable pace, Marston continues to supply a superior brand of historical mystery. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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4.0 out of 5 stars Part of a series March 30 2014
By Ian M
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this copy as my library didn't have this particular novel in the series. Haven't read it as yet as it's number 3 or 4.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Oct. 1 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Keeps you guessing!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Frozen Thames, What a Sight To See Aug. 26 2006
By J. Chippindale - Published on
Edward Marston's books about the architect Christopher Redmayne are well worth reading. The character is now becoming established in his own right. Initially I wanted to compare him with characters in some of Mr. Marston's other excellent offerings, Nicholas Bracewell etc. but now Christopher Redmayne stands out as the architect who not only want to put his stamp on London after the Great Fire, but is also making quite a name for himself as an amateur sleuth adept at solving some of the many crimes that take place in the great city. To assist him in these matters he has the assistance of his friend, constable Jonathan Bale.

The year is 1669 and winter has come down on the City of London with an iron fist. It is the coldest winter for many years, cold enough to make the great river Thames freeze over. When this event happens the merchants and entertainers make good use of the frozen river by holding a fair on the ice.

However the revelries are soon cut short when Redmayne and the constable discover a corpse trapped in the ice. The dead man is an Italian, a fencing master and he has been stabbed with a weapon belonging to the rakish, pleasure seeking elder brother of Christopher, Henry Redmayne. Everyone, including the constable is convinced that Henry is guilty, but the accused was too drunk to remember what happened. Christopher however is convinced of his brothers innocence and set out to prove it . . .
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent continuation of the saga of Christopher Redmayne Feb. 18 2009
By Matthew Jackson - Published on
Continuing the story of Christopher Redmayne (this is actually the book that comes prior to the Parliment House I read earlier this year), this book delves into some family dynamics as we are introduced to his pleasure seeking brother who is accused of murdering a fencing master. London politics are slightly explored with discussions on the right of the King, the role and rights of forgieners, however Marston masterfully slips small details into the story without making them feel preachy or overbearing. Instead he is able to weave comments on politics, social castes, and historical details without drowning the story in details that so often drag and slow a story. The continuing saga of Christohper's love for Susan is interesting as we learn the nuances of love and courtship in the late 1600's.

All told I found this book to be an easy read, something that many historical dramas cannot claim, enjoyable and engaging. Edward Marston manages to make a historical dramatic mystery that is a wonder to read, and makes you want to continue to the next book wondering if Christopher will ever manage to prove himself to Susan's family and spend a happy life with her as his wife.

I highly recommend this entire series, having read the first two books available in America I can say this is one of the most enjoyable series I have read.
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice reading Sept. 5 2013
By Liz Williams - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not my favorite time period but Edward Marston makes it palatable. I like his other series better especially the Railway Detective and the Doomsday Books.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mislead Dec 27 2013
By Mellissa S. Rush - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The cover you are showing is the book I thought I would receive so that it would match the set. It was the cover for that vendor's listing. Instead I received another cover and had to gift a non-matching set. Otherwise, the book was in mint condition. _
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