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The Man in the Snow

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When a reluctant John Shakespeare answers a plea for help from Joshua Peace, Searcher of the Dead, a few days before Christmas, he cannot know what lies ahead. A naked man has been found in a snowdrift, a wreath of holly crowning his head and a bullet in his back. But it is no ordinary corpse. Shakespeare recognises him as Giovanni Jesu, a black man from Venice, a close as When a reluctant John Shakespeare answers a plea for help from Joshua Peace, Searcher of the Dead, a few days before Christmas, he cannot know what lies ahead. A naked man has been found in a snowdrift, a wreath of holly crowning his head and a bullet in his back. But it is no ordinary corpse. Shakespeare recognises him as Giovanni Jesu, a black man from Venice, a close associate - and some say much more - of the disgraced Earl of Oxford. Who would kill such a man and why? As all around him prepare for the festive season, Shakespeare must unravel a complex plot of passion and treachery and confront a cold-blooded murderer who will not hesitate to kill again.


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When a reluctant John Shakespeare answers a plea for help from Joshua Peace, Searcher of the Dead, a few days before Christmas, he cannot know what lies ahead. A naked man has been found in a snowdrift, a wreath of holly crowning his head and a bullet in his back. But it is no ordinary corpse. Shakespeare recognises him as Giovanni Jesu, a black man from Venice, a close as When a reluctant John Shakespeare answers a plea for help from Joshua Peace, Searcher of the Dead, a few days before Christmas, he cannot know what lies ahead. A naked man has been found in a snowdrift, a wreath of holly crowning his head and a bullet in his back. But it is no ordinary corpse. Shakespeare recognises him as Giovanni Jesu, a black man from Venice, a close associate - and some say much more - of the disgraced Earl of Oxford. Who would kill such a man and why? As all around him prepare for the festive season, Shakespeare must unravel a complex plot of passion and treachery and confront a cold-blooded murderer who will not hesitate to kill again.

30 review for The Man in the Snow

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    The Man in the Snow is a Witness Impulse publication. I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. John Shakespeare has been asked to inquire about the death of Giovanni Jesu an "Ethiop" found shot and stripped naked in the snow. It is discovered that Giovanni was brought over by the Earl of Oxford some years back and while many others who had long since gone away, Giovanni had remained with the Earl. There were many rumors surrounding Giova The Man in the Snow is a Witness Impulse publication. I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. John Shakespeare has been asked to inquire about the death of Giovanni Jesu an "Ethiop" found shot and stripped naked in the snow. It is discovered that Giovanni was brought over by the Earl of Oxford some years back and while many others who had long since gone away, Giovanni had remained with the Earl. There were many rumors surrounding Giovanni's relationship to the Earl. Many presumed he was kept because of his great beauty. The Earl of Oxford, once a favorite of the Queen has now lost most of his fortune and is more often than not drunk. But, John must visit with the Earl and find out what he knows about Giovanni. His investigation will lead him to discover that Giovanni may have been leading a double life and his lover, a young woman who recently gave birth to his child, may be in grave danger. Will John find out the truth before someone else is murdered? For a novella, this mystery has quite a bit going on. The question of the Earl's sexual preferences, his religious leanings, and those who are sure he is guilty of something is the motive behind employing John to look into the murder. With Christmas upon them, no one wants to be questioned about a murder or have the death hanging over them. So, John is under pressure to wrap the case up quickly. He enlist Boltfoot to do a little investigating as well in order to get a clearer picture of what Giovanni may have been into before his death. A solid outing in the John Shakespeare series. A quick, but absorbing mystery, perfect for curling up with next to the fire on a cold night. This one gets an A.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    So traditionally on the 25th of December I enjoy a good Christmas themed scary story. This also goes for movies. I scout them out throughout the year to have one lined up when the time comes. But considering how much of a sh*tshow 2020 has been, celebratory traditions were far from my mind and so I forgot about to line up the book. (I didn’t forget about the movie and had the stupid stupid Black Christmas remake, a movie that literally ODs on political correctness in front of you and reminds onc So traditionally on the 25th of December I enjoy a good Christmas themed scary story. This also goes for movies. I scout them out throughout the year to have one lined up when the time comes. But considering how much of a sh*tshow 2020 has been, celebratory traditions were far from my mind and so I forgot about to line up the book. (I didn’t forget about the movie and had the stupid stupid Black Christmas remake, a movie that literally ODs on political correctness in front of you and reminds once again about the dangers of the message overpowering the medium). So a rushed rummage through the library catalog and voila, one Christmas themed read. Not scary, but not one of the myriad of wreath covered romances out there, so definitely a win. I’ve actually read the first book in this series. I don’t normally go for historical mysteries of the serialized variety or any sort of spy novels, but objectively that was well done. Plus book one is technically always a standalone. Didn’t necessarily make me want to get into further adventures of John Shakespeare, that playwright guy’s brother, but then again provide a nice introduction to this world so that it was easy to get back to and I so appreciate the clever way these mysteries weave fiction into the fabric of historical facts. This is much further in the series, so certain developments have occurred in John’s life, but the book is still readable even for the newcomers. It’s a murder mystery set around Christmas. A gorgeous young moor is found dead and naked in the snow, a man who has apparently been a rumored catamite and a favorite of no other than Earl of Oxford. John has no love for the Earl (and to be fair Earl doesn’t seem to deserve any), but he does love a good mystery to solve so he goes and solves it. And finds out all about the spy games some people play. And Earl’s comely much younger wife is just the cherry on top. So yeah, quick, entertaining and appropriately themed. Nice. Good looking out, library.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Literati Literature Lovers

    §Robbie’s Review§ “Knowledge is everything.” John Shakespeare’s friend Arthur Gregory points out… and acting on that statement, Shakespeare, older brother of author William and an “intelligencer” for Sir Robert Cecil, begins to unravel the mystery behind the death of a young man found in the snow a few days before Christmas. I must confess this is my first Rory Clements book and I have to say… it is an intriguing teaser which should make any reader want to explore the other John Shakespeare books §Robbie’s Review§ “Knowledge is everything.” John Shakespeare’s friend Arthur Gregory points out… and acting on that statement, Shakespeare, older brother of author William and an “intelligencer” for Sir Robert Cecil, begins to unravel the mystery behind the death of a young man found in the snow a few days before Christmas. I must confess this is my first Rory Clements book and I have to say… it is an intriguing teaser which should make any reader want to explore the other John Shakespeare books. With a unique balance of historical and fictional characters, Clements provides a clear glimpse of life during Elizabethan times and avoids the pit into which some historical novelists fall by making their books and their characters sound stodgy and boring. Regarding Queen Elizabeth’s and Mary Queen of Scots’ claim to the same throne, one of the characters states In truth, sir, it is like having two wives in one bedchanber or kitchen, a thing that is always likely to lead to death. There are spies, double agents, mysteries and plots galore in this book. There are villains and nasty characters around every corner, dragging young maids from their beds, hiding behind trees and creeping through hallways. The author is very adept at presenting a complex story line in the novella format. This book will keep you on edge as John Shakespeare races to save an innocent from becoming the next victim of a killer who believes “knowledge is everything”. For those who enjoy historical fiction and a good mystery, The Man in the Snow will make a great short read during this busy time of year. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book directly from the author. I was not paid to read or review this book. All opinions are my own and I was never influenced by anything or anyone.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Enjoyable mystery set in Elizabethan England at Christmastime. Just a novella, but it certainly gave me a taste of the series enough to want to look up the others in the series. A dead body in the snow. Intrigue. Danger. The older brother of Will Shakespeare. I really enjoyed it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Phyllida

    This is the first John Shakespeare mystery I have read and it has given me a taste for the rest of the series. It was shorter than I expected as it was supposed to be 112 pages long but was actually more like half that.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Julie Friar

    Did Hitler really die in the Bunker or has he fooled us all and in hiding, just biding his time? Tom a Wilde a Cambridge professor is sent to determine the truth and has to work with Heck, who has an axe to grind being a Jew and losing his family during the war. Wonderful characters and lots of danger and thrills throughout the book. Cannot reveal the outcome as that would spoil your read, enjoy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Novella sort reading The novella is subtitled “A Christmas Crime”, so it was a perfect fit for a good story, 125 or so pages, read in early December, to ease up on all the stress of these plague - flu days. I enjoyed it,as I enjoyed all the books by this author that I have read. Read it, relax and enjoy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sue Gale

    Another Crime for the Elizabrthan Sleuth Another crime crying out to be solved and John Shakespeare and his faithful retainer Boltfoot Cooper are soon in the thick of things.A good read full of bygone colour and detail

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    A few days before Christmas 1595 Joshua Peace, Searcher of the Dead is given a body. He turns to John Shakespeare to help identify and locate the murderer. Shakespeare's investigation leads to the Earl of Oxford, one time favourite of the Queen. An enjoyable short mystery story A few days before Christmas 1595 Joshua Peace, Searcher of the Dead is given a body. He turns to John Shakespeare to help identify and locate the murderer. Shakespeare's investigation leads to the Earl of Oxford, one time favourite of the Queen. An enjoyable short mystery story

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kieran Malcolmson

    Excellent short story A nice quick read from the Shakespeare series set at Christmas time. Very skilfully worked plot for such a short book with all the usual vivid descriptions of life and court politics in this period of England's history. Excellent short story A nice quick read from the Shakespeare series set at Christmas time. Very skilfully worked plot for such a short book with all the usual vivid descriptions of life and court politics in this period of England's history.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    I reserve five stars for special books, otherwise this would have had received the accolade. It is a novella -- exciting, well written and perfect for historical and thriller readers. A short diversion from the main John Shakespeare series and well worth it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sharyn

    I think that this book is the best of the series so far. Great plot, strong supporting cast and well delivered, as always. Thanks go to NetGalley, the publishers and the author for an e-ARC of this title to read and review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kay Collins

    Good read for relaxation Not one of the better ones from this series but keeps true to larger storyline. Entertaining per usual if not very mystery heavy

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kath

    Short story featuring Elizabethan spy John Shakespeare. A quick and entertaining read with an engaging hero that whets the appetite for the full length novels.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Not your normal Christmas novella in any way, shape or form. This one is pretty brutal with death, ugly people and exhaustion.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Landau

    A good John Shakespeare novella not generally known about.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mike Watson

    Snappy read but we'll up to normal standards. Thourougly enjoyable. Snappy read but we'll up to normal standards. Thourougly enjoyable.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Mitchell

    The Man in the Snow, A John Shakespeare Novella by Rory Clements is an e-book for today. Actually, it's merely set during Christmas. It begins with John writing to his parents that he is unable to get home for the holiday because he is busy with work as Chief Intelligencer for Sir Robert Cecil. He is Will Shakespeare's older brother. Stratford-upon-Avon is 100 miles away. An old friend, Joshua Peace, arrives at John's comfortable home and they sit down with brandy to warm him. He has come because The Man in the Snow, A John Shakespeare Novella by Rory Clements is an e-book for today. Actually, it's merely set during Christmas. It begins with John writing to his parents that he is unable to get home for the holiday because he is busy with work as Chief Intelligencer for Sir Robert Cecil. He is Will Shakespeare's older brother. Stratford-upon-Avon is 100 miles away. An old friend, Joshua Peace, arrives at John's comfortable home and they sit down with brandy to warm him. He has come because as Searcher of the Dead, he has the corpse of a black man who was shot in the back. The justice and the sheriff won't do anything about it, so he has come to ask John to find out who killed him and bring the murderer to justice. Travel is difficult because of heavy snow. When the two men near London, they see gangs of men shoveling snow from the roads. All Peace knows is that the body was found just outside the city frozen solid. Can't determine time of death but assumes it was within the past three weeks. To his surprise, John recognizes the man. He is Giovanni Jesu from Venice who works for the Earl of Oxford. He remembered him from years ago because Jesu was such a perfection of human form. His skin was a glowing shade of light brown. Solving the mystery involves a stay in the household of the Earl who is a drunkard, and his wife, a lovely and admirable lady. He finds that Jesu has fathered a child with one of the maidservants in the house. There are many suspects and no one talking due to fear or loyalty. John's servant, Boltfoot Cooper (who has a clubfoot) returns to London to further the investigation there. The characters in this story set in the late 1500s are a motley lot. Figuring out who to trust is half the case, and then ferreting out motives is even more difficult. It has the air of genuine research behind the story. I learned quite a bit about the life in those days. It all held my interest, and I loved John Shakespeare. Highly recommended quick read Source: publisher - Witness/Impulse Imprint, HarperCollins

  19. 4 out of 5

    Suspense Magazine

    John Shakespeare, brother of the bard, is called upon to investigate a murder. A body of a man is found frozen in the snow outside of the Bishopsgate in London. Shakespeare immediately recognizes the previously unidentified man. He is a Venetian servant of the Earl of Oxford by the name of Giovanni Jesu. So begins the mystery of “The Man in the Snow.” Rory Clements has written a powerful murder mystery wrapped in sixteenth century England. I do not normally care for ‘period’ fiction, but Rory Cle John Shakespeare, brother of the bard, is called upon to investigate a murder. A body of a man is found frozen in the snow outside of the Bishopsgate in London. Shakespeare immediately recognizes the previously unidentified man. He is a Venetian servant of the Earl of Oxford by the name of Giovanni Jesu. So begins the mystery of “The Man in the Snow.” Rory Clements has written a powerful murder mystery wrapped in sixteenth century England. I do not normally care for ‘period’ fiction, but Rory Clements did such an amazing job of thickening the plot by dropping just enough clues along the way that the period language and feel soon seemed natural. That is something that I have found to be rare in historical fiction. “The Man in the Snow” is a novella and moves fast from beginning to conclusion yet never rushes. There is a great blend of action and dialogue as Shakespeare goes about his business of solving the crime. I highly recommend Rory Clements’s “The Man in the Snow,” as well as his other John Shakespeare adventures. Reviewed by J.M. LeDuc, author of “Cornerstone,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen Brooks

    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 frien 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.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    “The man in the snow” is a short e-book featuring John Shakespeare. When a body is found in the snow, it leads Shakespeare and Boltfoot to the rather unwelcoming household of the Earl of Oxford and a tale of murder and espionage begins to unravel. I am rather vague about the plot as some of the characters of this book are mentioned in “The Heretics” so I don’t want to spoil any plot there. Before reading this book I looked as to where this book fell into the actual John Shakespeare series and “The man in the snow” is a short e-book featuring John Shakespeare. When a body is found in the snow, it leads Shakespeare and Boltfoot to the rather unwelcoming household of the Earl of Oxford and a tale of murder and espionage begins to unravel. I am rather vague about the plot as some of the characters of this book are mentioned in “The Heretics” so I don’t want to spoil any plot there. Before reading this book I looked as to where this book fell into the actual John Shakespeare series and the website said it was 5.5 which I took to mean that I should read after book 5 (The Heretics) which I did. Unfortunately, after reading it, it appears (in my opinion) it should actually be read before book 5 because of one line in the e-book. Anyway, that aside, “The man in the snow” was a very enjoyable book and it kept me gripped until the very end – I only wish that the story had been developed into a full length novel.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    A unidentified naked man has been found dead in the snow. The sheriff seems to want to rush the investigation. Joshua Peace, examiner of the dead, goes to John Shakespeare to ensure an investigation is done. This episode seems a little more formal than previous episodes, but it still contains the same engaging and witty characters as they continue with their lives and murder investigations. Historical accuracy appears present throughout the narrative, along with rich descriptions of places and pe A unidentified naked man has been found dead in the snow. The sheriff seems to want to rush the investigation. Joshua Peace, examiner of the dead, goes to John Shakespeare to ensure an investigation is done. This episode seems a little more formal than previous episodes, but it still contains the same engaging and witty characters as they continue with their lives and murder investigations. Historical accuracy appears present throughout the narrative, along with rich descriptions of places and people. Overall, a fun read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Janet Martin

    Squeezed this little historical mystery into my Christmas reading because I love Elizabethan settings and Christmas books. This wasn't actually very Christmasy nor very Elizabethan, although a number of famous folks such as Robert Cecil made appearances, and the main character, John Shakespeare, is an older brother of Will. But it was a solid little mystery with action and believable characters. I'm going go back to the beginning of this series and get started with the longer episodes. Squeezed this little historical mystery into my Christmas reading because I love Elizabethan settings and Christmas books. This wasn't actually very Christmasy nor very Elizabethan, although a number of famous folks such as Robert Cecil made appearances, and the main character, John Shakespeare, is an older brother of Will. But it was a solid little mystery with action and believable characters. I'm going go back to the beginning of this series and get started with the longer episodes.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Bramlett

    I read this yesterday between the 5th and 6th John Shakespeare book. Not the typical Christmas tale, but it was an entertaining episode in the series. Rory Clements never disappoints. Now...back to The Queen's Man. I read this yesterday between the 5th and 6th John Shakespeare book. Not the typical Christmas tale, but it was an entertaining episode in the series. Rory Clements never disappoints. Now...back to The Queen's Man.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Well that's Rory Clements finished, what's next? Well that's Rory Clements finished, what's next?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kaimei

    My first John Shakespeare story, and I quite liked it!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    a nice seasonal read - well up to John Shakespeare standard

  28. 4 out of 5

    P.R.

    Excellent little book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ian Ledward

    Good book from an excellent author Good book from an excellent author and thoroughly enjoyed reading this short freebie. To be recommended to any fan of Clements.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    2.5 stars

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