A Killing Frost

Written by Patricia Wynn
Review by Cecelia Holland

A year after German George of Hanover became King of England, the winter was so cold the Thames froze. Thus, the title and much of the setting of Patricia Wynn’s newest Blue Satan and Mrs. Kean mystery. For weeks, all of London frolicked on the frozen river in a great Frost Fair. Against this frivolity, Patricia Wynn plays the unsteady politics of the era; this is The ’15, the year of the first Jacobite uprising against the new monarchy. So when in the middle of the festivities a body turns up on the ice, clad in coronation robes, and frozen solid, a lot of people are desperate to find out why and who.

Hester Kean is a quick-witted widow living uneasily in the house of high-ranked cousins; Blue Satan, a nobleman who supported the wrong side against George, moonlights as a highwayman. Together they search for truth in the elegant drawing rooms and wretched brothels of the city; at the same time, they fight against expressing their love for each other.

I didn’t understand why they couldn’t love each other, and that may be the problem with A Killing Frost. Wynn writes well, and she knows her period back and forth, but in the end this book seems very routine. There’s even an escape from Newgate by disguising the escapee as a woman. On the whole, disappointing.