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THE FROST FAIR Paperback – Mar 15 2004
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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.
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.
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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 . . .
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.