The Ice House

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Overview

With this stunning debut—a marvelous marriage of classic convention and contemporary sophistication—Minette Walters sets a new standard of excellence for the mystery novel.

The three women living in seclusion at an elegant Hampshire country house have long been fodder for village gossip...even whispers of a witches' coven. So when a faceless corpse of uncertain vintage is found in the Streech Grange ice house, Chief Inspector Walsh can't wait ...

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Overview

With this stunning debut—a marvelous marriage of classic convention and contemporary sophistication—Minette Walters sets a new standard of excellence for the mystery novel.

The three women living in seclusion at an elegant Hampshire country house have long been fodder for village gossip...even whispers of a witches' coven. So when a faceless corpse of uncertain vintage is found in the Streech Grange ice house, Chief Inspector Walsh can't wait to make a case of it.

Lady of the manor Phoebe Maybury, still haunted by Walsh's relentless investigation of her husband's strange disappearance ten years ago, is calm. She and her two housemates—sensitive, charming artist Diana Goode and pretty, earthy Anne Cattrell—seem as puzzled as the police. But do they have something to hide?

While Walsh strives to nail Phoebe for murder, sexy young Detective Sergeant McLoughlin turns his attention to the exasperating and magnetic Anne. Soon his inquiry and his impulses will draw him into a tangled thicket of love, loyalty, and deadly intrigue.

Walters makes a brilliant debut with this dark and suspenseful mystery that has the Book-of-the-Month Club raving, "One of the most impossible-to-put-down mysteries we've read this year." Three women who live together are thrown into turmoil when a mutilated body is found in their estate's ice house. Martin's.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Walter's zinger of a debut deftly dissects the lives of three reclusive English women who become the object of censure and speculation during a murder investigation. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
Ten years ago, Phoebe Maybury's hateful husband David disappeared from Streech Grange after his wife caught him in bed with their traumatized daughter Jane. Now a naked, unidentifiable corpse has been discovered in the icehouse on the Grange, and Inspectors Walsh and McLoughlin have to decide whose it is, whether he was murdered, and who killed him. The cozy British setup is countered by an unremitting ferocity of tone, as Walsh—who planted the story years ago that Phoebe killed her husband—and McLoughlin slug it out with Phoebe and her aggressively lesbian companions, interior designer Diana Goode and magazine writer Anne Cattrell. For good measure, McLoughlin, stung by Anne's accurate taunts that he's fallen for her, also tangles with unblushing liar Maisie Thompson, whose husband has done a bunk (could that corpse be his?); with his long-unfaithful wife; with the village queer- bashers; and finally with Walsh himself. Unholy passions seethe inches beneath a proper surface: a brutal, literate debut—especially welcome to fans of Ruth Rendell.(I)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312951429
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1993
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 6.76 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Minette Walters

Minette Walters is the author of many suspense novels and the winner of the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and the CWA John Creasey/New Blood Dagger Award, among others. Her work has been translated into twenty-six languages. She lives with her husband in Dorset, England.

Good To Know

In our interview with Walters, she shared some fascinating facts about her interests, hobbies, and favorite ways to unwind:

"I've been married for nearly 25 years, have two sons, lead a very contented life in the wilds of Dorset with horses, chickens, dogs, sheep, and write some of the darkest psychological mysteries you'll ever read! I've been described as a woman ‘whose imagination makes her dangerous to know'!"

"I have spent a great deal of time in prison over the last 14 years -- both as a prison visitor, public speaker, and teaching assistant. While I have never used any individual's case as the basis for a book, I have learned a great deal about prisoners' backgrounds and what leads them to prison. The reasons tend to be similar -- dysfunctional family life, minimal parenting, early truanting, poor literacy levels, low self-esteem, no anger-management skills, difficulty relating to others -- and many of these issues are reflected in my novels."

"My major hobby and the way I always unwind is to decorate my house while listening to the many excellent BBC stations on the radio. As a news junkie, my favorites are Radio 4 and Radio 5 -- some of whose material can be accessed via the Internet or on the BBC World Service. Enjoy, if you can find them!"

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    1. Hometown:
      Dorchester, Dorset, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 26, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, England
    1. Education:
      B.A. in French, Dunelm (Durham University), 1971
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2001

    My first by Walters, but certainly not my last!

    I loved it! The characters were so real and so likeable...I felt as if they were good friends of mine. I especially enjoyed McLoughlin...a police officer and a gentleman who did the right thing and ended up with the right lady. Great work, Ms. Walters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2001

    simply the best

    this book is so great. so intertaining, so full of life,you really enjoye it.i think it will become a classic!highly recomendable.one of the best books i have ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2009

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    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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