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The Ice House

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  5,338 ratings  ·  164 reviews
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
Paperback, 306 pages
Published September 15th 1993 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1992)
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S & I are arguing about how this book ended up in our house at all. I think he ordered it from the library and he insists it must have been me. Whatever. It was a really good read regardless.

Three women, Phoebe Maybury, Diana Thomson and Anne Cattrell, are the residents of Streech Grange, and are under suspicion for murder. Again. Ten years ago, Phoebe's husband David disappeared conveniently into thin air but there was neither a body nor any other evidence to connect Phoebe to his murder. N
Ten years after a brutish businessman walked out on his wife and children and was never seen again, a dead and decayed body shows up in a forgotten corner of their country estate. Is it the missing husband finally discovered? And if so, is his wife – the prime suspect in the original case – really the killer?

This cross between a police procedural and a country house murder has a good and twisting plot, but suffers from the fact that many of its characters fall into the hinterland between caricat
This isn't a typical formula mystery in that it is told from the perspective of the suspects as well as the police. A decomposed body is found in the ice house of a country manor. The residents of the manor, three unmarried women, have been under scrutiny of the townsfolk ever since the husband of one of the women went missing. Is the body in the ice house the missing husband? Or someone else? The real mystery is why people treat each other the way they do...
Ben Babcock
For most of the past week, I ploughed through a W. Somerset Maugham collection with that signature pleasure one has in reading one short story after another. Maugham’s stories can wear thin after a while, however, owing to their formulaic structure. So I took a break for something completely different: The Ice House is a crime novel, but Minette Walters plays with a lot of crime conventions. It’s not entirely clear if a crime has been committed or who the victim is, let alone who the murderer mi ...more
One of the better murder mysteries I've read in a while. It's almost custom-tailored to my literary kinks: small town rumour mills, awesome women working together (friends and mothers and daughters and neighbours), a twisty enough plot.
(One minor quibble: I'm not sold on the romance subplot. Random acts of violence by way of introduction do not a good romance make.)
Gillie Lewis
I thought I was not going to enjoy this book as much as I did. I was confused at the beginning about the introductions if the female characters. Who was who? I felt that all the characters were introduced in one fell swoop and it took half the book to sort it out. I didn't like the way that our hero detective behaved to Cattrell. So unprofessional,I don't think. It would have happened. Liked the friendship later though. McLoughlin reminded me of Lewis' sidekick in TV series. Couldn't gethimout o ...more
Jim B
Read by Simon Prebble, whose able use of accents added to the characters' depth.
Won Britain's John Creasey Award for best first crime novel.

Nothing is what it seems at first in this novel. Especially interesting and unexpected is the depiction of the police officers Inspector Walsh and Detective McLachan (my favorite character).

According to the book notes, Minette Walters "writes thrillers that wed classic mystery conventions with contemporary sophistication." I would gladly read other Walters b
lots of twists, well done[return:]
Minette Walters left me with mixed feelings.
It took some time before i was gripped to the story and i thought the start was rather boring despite the fact that the discovery of the body was featured in the very first chapter.
I believe if, like me, you happen to have trouble keeping up with a large number of characters, with several names being sent to your face and your mind taking way too long to process, you are probably going to take as long as i did to get into the book.
However, once you do
Really good murder mystery, that stands well above where that category would lead me to expect. In fact, this ties in nicely with a TV series "The Killing" which I have been addicted to of late. The premise is this: there is a large estate where 3 single women live together after the lady of the house's husband disappeared 10 years ago. The village thinks she murdered her husband, but no one was able to prove it. Rumors fly about the women - that they are lesbians, witches and possibly murderess ...more
Walters, Minette - 1st book

When a rotting, unidentified corpse is discovered it marks the beginning of a nightmare murder investigation for the three women living there. But is it the beginning? Or does the body lying in the ice-house mean that the police can close an old file?

Very good but slow.
I read several Minette Walters books while on holiday and found them very well written.
I found them very powerful and slightly different to the normal style of Mystery Crime writers.
Very good reads.
Mary Dee
I had never read anything by Minette Walters until I watched "The Sculptress" on video years after it was written. Just last month, I selected "The Ice House" to read...and was then able to obtain the video for that book as well. Walters is clearly a master of the psychological thriller. The Ice House is truly a gripping human drama which addresses the impact of trauma at every level of functioning...and of society. Each of us has the choice to either transmit our past pain...or to be transforme ...more
I wanted to like this better than I did because of all the people who have recommended Minette Walters's books to me. But I had a hard time getting into the book, and staying with it. I also got sidetracked because all of my Overdrive books that had been on hold forever came in, and I had to get them read or start the hold process all over again! I actually read The Ice House in real book form, albeit paperback. I've gotten so used to digital books that I can't remember the last "real" book I've ...more
Jerome Parisse
Minette Walters is a British crime fiction author of more than twelves books. The Ice House is the first of her books that I have read, and I must say that I enjoyed it immensely. It was published in 1992 by Macmillan and won the Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Award for best first novel. It has been translated into several languages.

A decaying body is found on the property of a woman and her two friends. This sparks the interest of the police, who has never been able to solve the myster
Kim Greenhalgh
As I've said a few times before - I love books that keep their mystery to the end. I may theorize as I go, but I don't want to figure it out. This novel happily meets that criteria. A friend recommended The Ice House to me and I am so glad he did. What an intriguing, twisting marvel! I've been chomping at the bit to finish it for days.

First off, if you are squeamish it may be best to avoid Ms. Walters' books. They aren't shy with the ghoulish detail of the crime in question but if you can stomac
More of a 2.5 than a 2. The book was fine overall - an interesting plot that kept me on my toes written by a skilled author. Better writing style than most.

That said, the characterization in The Ice-House was a bit confusing. The characters have a good amount of depth - there are motivations, certainly, in the actions of the main characters. That said, it didn't seem quite life-like to me. I can't imagine there are many people who go around quoting Robert Burns poems. Seriously, how many people
N. Jr.
The premise is wonderful - a corpse that defies identification, found in an unlikely, hardly detetable place - an ice house overgrown with brambles as to be unseen.
Very good character development combined with a stimulating plot. Amusing sexual innuendos abound and although this is my first book by Minette Walters, I have heard that this is one of her trademarks.

Included in the story are several subplots and one or two red herrings, as the author grips the reader with a literate and compelling n
Lisa C
The writing in this work must be pretty solid since I was really enjoying it from the very beginning, even though I didn't like the characters, at least not the detectives, and couldn't keep track of who anyone was. That's an important feature of the work. The story unravels itself several times throughout. Just as you think you understand the characters and are getting a feel for what the story is about and the direction it's heading, a layer of the onion peels back and you're reading a differe ...more
When a body is found in an old unused ice house on an English estate, the police are called back in, and the effects of their last investigation at the estate are remembered: an investigation into a possible murder, though no body was ever found. Very good mystery, good plotting, characters, and writing. Though it contains elements that I usually shrink from -- child abuse in particular -- it was so well-written and integral to the story that I was enthralled rather than repulsed. Possibly easie ...more
Another in a long list of excellent police procedurals from the British author, Minette Walters. A badly decomposed body is found on the estate of three reclusive ladies, where one woman's husband had gone missing ten years earlier. Lots of red herrings and misdirects keep the reader guessing, while the police seem to chase their tails trying to fit the evidence into their preconceived ideas of what has occurred. But not everyone on the force is convinced that the women are guilty, and one gentl ...more
I have read four books by Minette Walters. I have read The Ice House which I thought was an excellent story . Acid Row, Is another excellent story which was my favourite. I thought Fox Evil was good and Devils Feather was good.
Roberta Van
Wow, this was 'a couldn't put it down' mystery with strong believable characters woven into a cold case mystery. I was afraid to find a solution because noble characters would be hauled off to jail. Would like to read more.
Deborah Sexton
Good, not great. Three single women with strong personalities living together in a mansion in a village. A dead body is found in the old ice house on their property. Classic mystery formula.
In rating this book I really tried to be fair to the author but the only way I could really do that would be to give 2 separate scores for the writing and whether or not I liked it. She's an excellent writer and probably deserves a 4 for that but I would be stretching it to give a 2 for my liking the book. It was just way too dark for my taste. I could not find a single character I could root for because they were all so unlikable. It was intelligently written and had an intricate, imaginative p ...more
May 31, 2008 K rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K by: Novelist P.D. James read-alikes
Shelves: mysterycrime
A man's mutilated, naked corpse is found in the detached ice house of an English country manor house. Suspicion immediately falls upon the house's three female inhabitants, long rumored by locals to be lesbian witches, one of whom was accused of murdering her husband ten years ago.

Yay! A suggested P.D. James read-alike that I actually enjoyed! Walters' style is more ordinary than James' though still several cuts above most popular fiction writing. And she handles sex and violence masterfully. S
This is a reread and I liked it still quite a bit. I love the way Walters pulls all the threads together of the plot. That most of her characters are quite unlikable. Still, her characters are strong, wilful women. They have learned that they can protect themselves quite well thank you very much. I like that in the end it's all about revenge and envy. That it's not all tied up in a neat moral bow.

I knew that a Masterpiece theatre was made of the book but I had no idea a young Daniel Craig playe
Sep 22, 2012 Regan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, especially mystery fans
Recommended to Regan by: my mother
Recently discovered mystery writer Minette Walters, and have been going through her books like candy. Among the ones I've read so far, The Ice House is among my favorites of hers, though so far, none of her novels that I've read have disappointed in any way. It's just that, this particular novel, along with Disordered Minds, The Sculptress, The Scold's Bridle and The Shape of Snakes, The Ice House takes its place among my favorite of Walters novels.

As usual with Walters, things aren't what they
I liked the story, but it didn't make me feel like I couldn't put the book down. It wasn't as suspenseful as I would have liked it to be.
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Minette Walters (born 26 September 1949) is a British mystery writer. After studying at Trevelyan College, University of Durham, she began writing in 1987 with The Ice House, which was published in 1992. She followed this with The Sculptress (1993), which received the 1994 Edgar Award for Best Novel. She has been published in 35 countries and won many awards.

The Sculptress has been adapted for tel
More about Minette Walters...
The Sculptress The Scold's Bridle The Dark Room The Shape of Snakes Acid Row

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