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A Bitter Chill (Aurelia Marcella Roman) Hardcover – 11 Oct 2005

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (11 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590581938
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590581933
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 2.8 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,690,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Chicago Tribune: '...anyone who--like author Finnis--has ever marveled at how straight and well-built many of the Roman roads of England still are should enjoy this entertaining look back.' Booklist: 'Finnis does a good job of interweaving several plot strands into a suspenseful and authentically detailed historical whodunit.'

About the Author

JANE FINNIS has been fascinated by the past ever since as a child she walked the straight Roman roads of East Yorkshire. After reading history at London University, she worked for some years in London as a freelance broadcaster for BBC Radio. Now she is settled in East Yorkshire again with her husband Richard, and spends much of her time researching and writing about the Roman Empire. A Bitter Chill follows Get Out or Die, her debut novel. Visit her website at

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The author Jane Finnis was born in Britain, in what she describes in her own words as "God's Own Country, Yorkshire." As I too am from Yorkshire it is not a statement I am about to argue with. She studied history at London University and then stayed on in the capital and worked for some years as a freelance broadcaster for the BBC. She is now settled back in Yorkshire, close to the coast. She has always had a love of the Roman era and when she finally found time to do some writing, it seemed to be the obvious period in which to set her books.

This the second book in the Aurelia Marcella mysteries follows the story of Aurelia an innkeeper in the north of Britain not far from York, or as the Roman's called the city Eboracum. The north has never taken to the Roman customs in the same way as southern Britain but as far as Aurelia is concerned that is not a reason to avoid celebrating Saturnalia. However Aurelia's plans for a quiet holiday are shattered by the midnight arrival of her brother.

His sudden arrival is to tell his sister that someone in Rome is spreading rumours that the family is plotting against Caesar himself. As if this is not enough trouble for the family, Aurelia's inn is being threatened by some sort of protection racket. Then to cap it all a party of demanding travelers related to the provincial governor turn up at the door.

There quarrels spill over into the household and then to heap more misery onto Aurelia's shoulders one of the group dies at the feast of Saturnalia and Aurelia's younger sister, Albia is the chief suspect. It would seem that Aurelia is going to need all the help she can get to clear the family name and prove her younger sister Albia's innocence . . .
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.6 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Read 28 Oct. 2012
By sharlee - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like historical mysteries. I came across a Jane Finnis book in Kindle books. I had never heard of this author, but decided for the price I would give one of her books a try. I enjoyed the book and have now purchased and read all of her books to date. I enjoyed the series enough that I hope she will continue to write more books in this series.
5.0 out of 5 stars Can cool heads overcome cold hearts 30 Jan. 2013
By Aimee Lamb - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved the characters and the settings... The story keeps you guessing, you want to believe it's the rotten secretary who has committed the murder(s) after all he's connived in many nasty events... However love will conquer all in the end, but maybe not the cold. I felt physically cold while reading some of the scenes set in the snowy winter in Britania and sorry for the plight of many of the slaves..
Some of the menus put out by the inn would rival any **** restaurants of today, so it was fun reading about what guests would eat in such a place.
Well done.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good. 29 May 2015
By Reader from Mayland - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stayed up half the night to finish it! Very good.
5.0 out of 5 stars a continuation of very good roman reading 3 May 2014
By richard e bergeron - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
a very good novel, story has no lag, a very good steady read. jane keep them coming. an excellent buy
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic historical mystery 17 Sept. 2005
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Roman settlers in the province of Britannia near the town of Ebornacum (later known as York) in Dec 95 AD are getting ready to celebrate the holiday Saturnalia. Nobody is more excited than innkeeper Aurelia Marcella who expects no overnight customers due to the inclement weather. She is very disappointed when a very important Roman family comes up from Londinium to search for their runaway son who wants to marry a local girl and not the woman his parents chose for him.

Aurelia's sister is shocked to learn that her fiancé Candidus is the rich Roman son of a senatorial family. A confrontation leads to the threat of him being disinherited but he chooses love over money. When his father's slave is killed in the patriarch's bed, Aurelia and her sister are accused of the murder. When a second slave is murdered, it verifies the patriarch's fear that someone is trying to kill him. Aurelia agrees to help in the investigation once she is cleared of any suspicion but the killer strikes again mounting a full scale investigation with Aurelia's sister and Candidus as two of the prime suspects.

Readers who liked the first book in this series GET OUT OR DIE will find A BITTER CHILL is even more exciting. It is a fantastic historical mystery that gives insight into the Roman culture adjusting to life in the back water provinces. The characters are well drawn and the support cast plays key roles and are as important to the storyline as the protagonist. Aurelia is an independent businesswoman who would have been at home in twenty-first century America instead of a Roman province where women were considered second citizens.

Harriet Klausner
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