The Ice Maiden by Michael Saunders is a British detective mystery, a short story (80 pages) and a prequel. “Prequel” was not noted on the site where I downloaded the book. I don’t usually read prequels, but the word that trumped (don’t go there) everything else was an all caps “Free.” I like to keep some of these in my go bag when I am paying more serious attention to longer reads such as Lincoln in the Bardo.
I am not a first-line addict, but this is not one of the more attractive first lines for inviting readers. “What a shit Christmas,” he said to himself; little knowing that next year’s Yuletide would be even worse.” (Kindle location 49 for the fastidious, but it is redundant. This is a first line). At least it is not near Christmas. Bah, humbug.
True, Detective Inspector Jack Gilbert was having a bad day. His wife, Viv, was in hospital but was expected to be discharged within the week. Jack was on compassionate leave, but who in their right mind enjoyed compassionate leave? His mindset would be better if he were back in his office at the Peterborough City Police Force. Jack might be able to lend a hand in the search for a missing girl, Anne Trayhorn.
And so it was. Jack found himself back in the company of two other Police Constables, drinking either the predictable tea or predictable coffee, and working on the next case. There was a wrinkle in that his boss had informed Jack that there was a downsizing of resources. Five departments were to be combined into one. Jack would have a new office in a new headquarters within a week. He had one week to solve the case of Anne Trayhorn, who was first missing and then found dead. After an autopsy, it was determined that Anne had spent a few weeks between kidnapping and death frozen. The search was on for very large freezers that could store bodies without being checked for long periods.
Meanwhile, a stereotypically handsome twenty-year-old had discovered a new hobby, one that involved sex and freezing. Early success demanded more victims. Jack and his constables were in a race to solve the mystery.
The principal interest I had in this novel is British English. I am always entertained by the dry, understated nature of British English. I rated this short prequel at three Amazon stars, but it was interesting enough for me to download a free full-length novel by Michael Saunders that follows, The Chocolate Killer. The free novel is not available on Amazon and can be found with a hyperlink found at the end of this prequel Michael Saunders has written several novels which are available on Amazon. The Ice Maiden is available on Amazon as a free purchase, USD 0.00.