For fans of Rory Clements’ work, The Man in the Snow is a cracking novella that sees intelligencer, John Shakespeare, trying to solve the mysterious death of an “Ethiop” and Venetian man who is found just a few days before Christmas, you guessed it, buried in the snow.
Summoned by his friend, the Searcher of the Dead, Joshua Peace, who we’ve come to know and love in other novels, Shakespeare understands that not only is the man’s death very suspicious, but also vicious. Discovering he was a friend of the Earl of Oxford, Shakespeare and the redoubtable Boltfoot set off to uncover the plots and cunning of desperate men – who lead double lives and for whom betrayal is as easy as breathing.
It wouldn’t be a John Shakespeare mystery if the odious Richard Topcliffe didn’t make an appearance, and of course, he does, with all his usual judgemental and vile flair.
Fast-paced, short but as always beautifully written and evoking the period with panache, this was a terrific and gripping read.