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The Ice House: A Novel [Paperback]

4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A WORTHY DEBUT NOVEL... Jan. 17 2004
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Winner of Britain's John Creasey Award for Best First Crime Novel, this splendid debut novel by the author is a tough act to follow. She weaves a marvelous mystery surrounding three women who live together in an English Country manor house, one of whom, Phoebe Maybury, is suspected of having murdered her bounder of a husband ten years ago. More recently, a corpse in found in an old icehouse on their property and rumors begin flying fast and furious about these three women.
Ostracized by the community in which they live, these three women become larger than life in the minds of the local townsfolk. The charming and artistic Diana Goode and the earthy, no nonsense Anne Catrell hunker about their housemate, Phoebe, as the events of the past threaten to crop up again and overwhelm her.
The police, led by Chief Inspector Walsh, a man with his own underlying agenda, seem intent upon putting the screws to these three women, fixating upon Phoebe Maybury. Only Sergeant Detective McLoughlin seems to be genuinely interested in discovering the truth. In order to do so, however, he must confront his own personal demons, as he finds himself drawn into a snare of deceit, good intentions gone awry, loyalty, and a secret that threatens to ruin the lives of three women.
The author cleverly uses the discovery of the corpse as a catalyst for a voyage of self-discovery for some of her characters. Brimming with a cornucopia of subplots and one or two red herrings, the author grips the reader with a literate and compelling narrative. She is a welcome addition to the ever growing list of British mystery novelists. This author's work should appeal to those who enjoy mysteries written by Ruth Rendell.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting introduction to a great novelist. June 17 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book introduced me to Minette Walters, and since then I've bought every one of her books as soon as it has been released. The Ice House is a fine mystery, and the writing draws the reader into the time a place, making you feel involved all along the way. Descriptions of the ice house itself are thoroughly fascinating. The solution to the murder mystery was both surprising and a perfect fit! I found myself hoping that Ms. Walters would continue with stories about the main detective.

I have not, however, been disappointed by the fact that every one of her novels since the Ice House has been entirely different and -- from that first one as well as from each other, and none have involved the same characters. She's a master of suspense, and she has developed some of the most interesting characters I have ever met.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A little off the beaten track June 16 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a little off the beaten track for me. I usually enjoy the "who dunnit" type of murder mystery that focuses on the puzzel of the murder rather than on the psychology of the individual characters. The Morse mysteries of Dexter are the closest thing I've come to this kind of psychological mystery. This work was presented on the PBS mystery series, and I enjoyed the film so much I decided to read the book. The unusual characters of the three women and the secret that holds them together--in fact imprisons them together--are the major focus of the story. That of the two policemen interacting with them keeps the story moving forward and the reader rivited to the action. The tension among them almost makes one forget that a murder has been committed and an investigation is underway!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A cleverly conceived, well-executed mystery July 21 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a great book! The award-winning THE ICE HOUSE is a thoroughly entertaining novel filled with some of the wittiest prose and sharpest dialogue I've ever read. Minette Walters is a gifted writer; her narrative is lucid as well as literate, and her characters are flawlessly constructed. There's also a fine plot in this book, with quite a few crafty twists and turns; my only complaint is that a few of the plot strands could not be deduced by the reader. In the sense of the Golden Age detective story, then, I suppose Walters "cheated" a bit. Nonetheless, THE ICE HOUSE is such a gloriously savory dish it's quite overlookable. Lovers of P.D. James and Ruth Rendell will undoubtedly enjoy the work of this hot new British author. One down, five to go. Next stop: THE SCULPTRESS...
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5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting read couldnt put it down Sept. 9 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having seen the Sculptress on TV last year and being an avid reader of whodunnits and mystery novels I ordered a copy of the Ice House. I was really impressed by the characterisation and the story. I became involved with the characters right from the very beginning feeling sympathy for Phoebe and her friends and downright dislike for the policemen. I really enjoyed this book and truly couldn't put it down. I have been looking for a new author for some time as I have been fed up with the formulaic writing of some of the popular mystery authors such as Patricia Cornwall. Finally being an expat englishwomen from Hampshire where the novel is set I found the descriptions of England etc making me very homesick. I thoroughly recommend this novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Read it March 6 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Well, it's undoubtedly one of Walter's best novels. The best, I think, is "The Dark Room." The only drawback I find is that the main female character(s) is quite recognizable and keeps appearing on the pages of the author's every novel: a strong-willed woman maltreated by a wicked man and/or suffering from the unhealed wounds of the past. However, you have no time to think about it for the plot and Walter's brilliant language rapidly lead you through the cobweb woven of human sins and hidden poisonous desires. It'a a plasure to read, indeed. I've read all Walter's novels (published, of course) and can assure you that it is impossible to predict (based on the previous experience) who is the murderer.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Minette Walters Can Become An Addiction
OK so she is a mystery writer but I forget that part because I become enchanted by her characters who are so likeable - even with their quirks. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Deb Dorsey
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite Walters to date
When a body is found in an abandoned ice house, an old murder case that the owner of the house would rather forget surfaces again. Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2001 by frumiousb
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly done
This page-turner incorporates a sharp psychological twists along with strong characterizations in a story that keeps the reader guessing. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars A Clever Mystery
The Ice House by Minette Walters tells the story of three women, Phoebe, Anne and Diana who live together in a mansion called Streech Grange. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2001 by booknblueslady
5.0 out of 5 stars read this book!
this is definitely worth reading. the only thing about the book that bothered me was the picture on the cover didn't match the image in my head of the mansion. Read more
Published on Aug. 2 2000 by "jessica-bklyn"
4.0 out of 5 stars Best of Minette Walters
This is the better of the Minette Walters books (although the Scold's Bridle is also good). Interesting enough, with the various ingredients of the mystery, and the... Read more
Published on Aug. 1 2000 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Introduction to Minette Walters
The Ice House was the first Walters book I read, and was the reason I went on to read the rest of her works so far. Read more
Published on July 18 2000 by kanga
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just the same old country house formula
I stumbled on this book by accident. What a pleasure to encounter a mystery writer with an original mind who can really write. Read more
Published on June 28 2000 by Angela Belt
5.0 out of 5 stars the ice house
Minette Walters as her best! I hope she'll never end writing books. In this bestseller she describes the complicated relationship of three women and the mysterious past one of... Read more
Published on June 21 2000 by steffi
5.0 out of 5 stars ice house
It's her best book - so far. Where Agatha Christie ended, she just began. It's a gripping book which you'll read through the night. I'm looking forward for her next book
Published on March 2 2000 by sabina
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