“The Ice House” by Minette Walters

Walters, Minette. The Ice House (1992)  
St. Martin’s, 301 pages, $5.99  paperback  
ISBN 0 312 95142 6


When a decomposing body is discovered in the ice house on a British estate, two cynical detectives arrive to investigate. They’re certain that the body must be that of the husband of the household, who disappeared 10 years earlier. Furthermore, they wonder, along with all the residents of the town, why the missing man’s wife and two female companions—all women approaching middle age—live together in seclusion in the house. As they dig more deeply into the problem of the body in the ice house, they discover that things may not be as they seem. The reader also discovers that appearances can be deceiving.

What makes Walters such a popular writer is her ability to probe the psychological complexities of her characters at the same time that she creates spellbinding plots to hold readers’ interest while allowing the characters to reveal themselves. Time after time a Walters novel reveals that things are not always as they seem and that, by making and acting upon assumptions, we often miss the truth.

© 2001 by Mary Daniels Brown

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