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Death Comes By Amphora
Roger Hudson
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The Body in the Ice - Alfred A. Knopf Publishing Company

From the blurb:1796,Kent, a killer at large, a family feud and a house with a secret. Doesn't it sound good? 

The year is 1796,the United States have gained their independence some 20 years previously, the British took part of Canada from the French and the French fleet is ready (or so it seems) to invade Britain. The relationship between the British, the Americans  ( republicans) and the French( revolutionary) is slightly troubled,to say the least. Against this background a small coastal community, and more specifically Reverend Hardcastle  (who is also a Justice of Peace) is confronted with murder  ( and smugglers, French spies and an adorable Irish wolfhound who is not particularly brave  (a rabbit frightened the hell out of him)).The historical setting is marvellous, it is very atmospheric and the main characters are endearing. 

But strangely enough, the last chapters are perhaps a bit long-winded with too much gunpowder, spies and cloak and dagger and somehow it kills all that atmospheric tension. 

Still, all in all, a very good read.