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Saturday 2 July 2022

‘A Bitter Chill’ by Jane Finnis

Published by Poisoned Pen Press,
1st September 2005.
ISBN: 978-1-59058193-3 (HB)

It might all have been different if I hadnt burnt the mistletoe.  With this speculation, innkeeper Aurelia Marcella begins her tale of murder and intrigue set in Northern Britain in late December 95 AD. 

Aurelia and her younger sister, Albia, are preparing to celebrate Saturnalia when a family of wealthy and powerful Roman visitors arrive, demanding shelter and sustenance.  The arrogant and angry parents, who rule the family, have travelled North with their dependants and slaves in order to search for their rebellious elder son.  Soon the familys bitter disputes result in kidnap and murder and threaten Aurelia and Albias own safety and happiness.

A Bitter Chill is a swift-paced murder mystery packed with larger than life and wonderfully drawn characters.  However it also vividly illustrates the corrosive effect of power, especially when it is used in place of love within the family.  Aurelias caring interaction with her own household proves a vivid contrast to the cruelty and ruthlessness of the nobly born visitors. 

In A Bitter Chill we are introduced to the customs of that much earlier time with skill and humour, so that the authors scholarship never intrudes. 

Aurelia is a heroine for our time.  She is a businesswoman who can cope with anything life throws at her and she has a refreshingly liberated attitude to sex.  Independent, forthright and opinionated, she has an endearingly wry and self-deprecating sense of humour, and she is fiercely loyal to those she cares about.
Reviewer: Carol Westron
A Bitter Chill
is Jane Finnis’ follow-up to her debut novel, Get Out Or Die, which also features Aurelia Marcella and her mansio near Eboracum (modern York.)  I loved it and I can’t wait for number

Jane Finnis read history at the University of London before working as a radio producer for the BBC.  Her four Roman mysteries are about life (and death) in first-century Roman Britain. They feature Aurelia Marcella, who runs an inn on the road to York, and keeps getting drawn into solving mysteries in what is still a new frontier province of the mighty Roman Empire. Jane now lives in  east Yorkshire and spends her time researching and writing about the Roman Empire. To read a review other most recent book Danger In The Wind, click on the title.

Carol Westron is a successful author and a Creative Writing teacher.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  Her first book The Terminal Velocity of Cats was published in 2013. Since then, she has since written 6 further mysteries. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.

To read a review of Carol latest book
The Curse of the Concrete Griffin
click on the title 

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