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The Ice House

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  9,031 ratings  ·  310 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
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Paperback, 306 pages
Published September 15th 1993 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1992)
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Laura Steinert The first disappearance and the attack on Phoebe happened in the 1970s. The book is taking place in the 1980s. I can't cite the page numbers, but I di…moreThe first disappearance and the attack on Phoebe happened in the 1970s. The book is taking place in the 1980s. I can't cite the page numbers, but I did come to that conclusion early on in the book. The architecture of the new police station, the clothes, the music, and some of the dialogue sets it (for me anyway) in about 1987-88. If you want an exact year, you can look up which years May 27 fell on Saturday. (less)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,031 ratings  ·  310 reviews


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Gary
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
John
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read several of Walters's later novels and for the most part enjoyed them a great deal. Her writing has a tremendous fluency, while she has the ability to create very real characters; the net result is thrillers that have a fine pace and an admirable depth of reader involvement.

Had I not vaguely remembered that The Ice House was her debut novel, I'd have been startled. The writing's quite often pretty clumsy, the narrative seems a bit disjointed as if the book had been written piecemeal ove
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Nandini
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. Now,
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Vanessa
Oh my god I'm so glad it's over. It's been a while since I've read a book so damn frustrating.

This book only got two stars because it had an interesting setting, fascinating secondary characters and suspects and the resolution of the case managed to surprise me in the end.

BUT I've never read a crime novel where I was rooting for the murderer to show up and off the two main investigators so badly. They were such misogynistic, homophobic, judgemental assholes, I don't even know what to say. I actu
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S.P. Aruna
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-mystery
A dead body is discovered in the ice house of a country manor, a body with no identifying marks, not even fingerprints. Throw in the three eccentric women who live on the manor and their controversial past, tongues are wagging out all sorts of conspiracies spiced with sexual innuendos.

The characters are offbeat and the reader gets a picture of the incestuous social setting in a small English village, whcih was enough for me to find it interesting..
TheMadHatter
A lovely lady I work with gave me a pile of her favourite books to read for the holidays. I love being given books and I like the idea of picking up something I would not normally have read...but at the same time it is a double edged sword as you feel compelled to want to love it too.

This murder mystery book was written in 1993 and I think my biggest issue with it is that it has dated badly over the past 25 years - especially the sexist remarks, the homophobic remarks, the abuse that is tolerat
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Deb Jones
An in-depth character study of the police officers central to the investigation, the suspects and various village residents.

A body in advanced decomposition is found in the ice house in Streech Grange, the site of a disappearance ten years previous. Will the body in the ice house turn out to be the missing man -- the husband of the mistress of Streech Grange. Inspector Walsh is certain the body is that of David Maybury, the man Walsh tried to prove his wife, Phoebe, had killed in the decade-old
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F.R.
Dec 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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N.N. Light
I know this is for the hardcover but I actually read the mass market.

I read a later book by Minette Walters and fell in love with her writing style. This is her debut noel and honestly, it's superb! Ice House is the story of three women living in an English manor house. One of them has been accused of murdering her husband ten years ago. Flash forward and a body is discovered in the ice house. Suddenly, all three women are suspects and the local village folk don't know what to think. Tongues wag
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Kelsie
May 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
It took me forever to finish this book because I really wasn't feeling it.
It was a 'who dunnit' novel but I ended up not caring who dunnit. I felt the writing was all over the place, there were too many generic characters that I got muddled up who was who, I really lost track a few times due to it being so generic and the story had about as much interest as beige paint.
It was below average, it wasn't terrible hence the 2 stars but it didn't stand out what-so-ever. It was just so bland. When all
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Jessica Woodbury
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
I was complaining on Twitter that I don't have enough mystery series to follow or mystery authors who are consistently putting out great books. Minette Walters was someone I'd never heard of before, but she was recommended by author Stephanie Gayle and I'm hugely grateful for it. I feel like Walters and I will have a long and happy relationship.

With The Ice House Walters manages to update the old-school Christie-style manor-house mystery with modern characters and settings. (Regular references t
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Megan
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
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Lawrence
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
The mystery itself was compelling and compellingly presented, but I can't get over my disappointment with the characters. (view spoiler) ...more
Tea
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In the ice house a decomposed body has been found but who's is it the husband of Phoebe who went missing 10 years ago? She owns the house and now lives with two other ladies who very one in the village believe are all lesbians (apparently this is a bad thing) or Mr Thomas a local from the village who went missing some months before. Was he killed by his wife? or one of the ladies who live in the house with Phoebe?

Sound like an great story line, right? I hate being mean but I found the writing
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N. Jr.
Oct 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Stephanie
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... ...more
Asghar Abbas

I remember this to be a solid debut, although I wasn't that impressed by it. Maybe because I had jumped into her books midway and she clearly got better at it with each book. Though in this one like with all her other books, her heroines remained as human and believable as ever.
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Sarah
It was terrible, but it wasn't great. It's feels very dated, and set within it's own world. The characters were either very dull or wildly inconsistent. I don't know that I'd recommend it. About the best I can say is that once past the 50 page mark it moves pretty fast. ...more
Colleen
Long and confusing
Vanessa
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Holden
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kara 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
Kelly
Mar 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
DNF at page 38. This book has not aged well. The blurb tells me McLoughlin is supposed to be some sort of romantic lead, but he's a complete troglodyte: victim-blaming a battered woman and blathering on about man-hating lesbians. Also a fair amount of gross-out and a writing style I can't quite warm up to. ...more
Stephii-Dawne Leslie
This was not my usual genre of story that I enjoy, but I had a lot of fun reading this. So many twists and turns of the story, constantly keeps you second guessing!

Glad I picked this book up by mistake now!
Robyn
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I fell in love with the three ladies in this murder mystery. Each representing a part of ourselves. I loved the idea that the idea of good and bad, right and wrong are fluid and sometimes good people do bad things and that there is ALWAYS a reason for the seemingly destructive and immoral choices people make.
Anina
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
Creepy, atmospheric descriptions, and the dialogue is almost entirely old British women throwing expert shade at police officers. It is basically the perfect novel.
Mike
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marvellously plotted, with all Walters' usually red herrings and characters who aren't who they seem. ...more
Michelle La Cherie
At first this book made me angry and I almost stopped reading it. I'm so glad I continued because it's a great read. Read it in two days it was so riveting. ...more
Diane Standish
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book, I've read a couple other books by this author, and I will read more. I like that the assistant DI is the protagonist in the book. Phoebe Maybury was accused of killing her husband 10 years ago, but not by police. The community ostracized her after he disappeared. Now a body is found in the ice house and everyone thinks its David. Lots of twists make the plot very intriguing. ...more
Kim
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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