An American Editor

May 13, 2011

On Books: Ice Blue

Last night I finished reading Ice Blue by Emma Jameson and am sorry that I finished — because the next book in the series is not yet available and I want more! The book is well-edited, well-written, and well-formatted, indicating that the author cares about the reader’s experience, a sense that too many indie books fail to communicate.

Ice Blue is a 5-star British mystery that involves Scotland Yard and the tensions between social classes that pervade the English cultural and social milieu. Unlike too many indie ebooks, Jameson has crafted a fine suspense tale but an even finer story about a Lord and a commoner, a modern-day Cinderella tale, yet one with believable characters. (And no, there is no fairy tale ending in this ebook, which is supposed to be the first in a series that features these characters.)

I firmly believe that there are several characteristics that define the writing of an outstanding author. I do not mean to imply that to be outstanding an author must demonstrate all of these characteristics, but rather the author must have more than one to be outstanding and the more the author has, the more outstanding the writing.

Those who follow my blog know that two indie fiction authors I regularly put in the outstanding category are Shayne Parkinson (historical fiction) and Vicki Tyley (mystery). Emma Jameson (mystery) is now a third, a new addition to my pantheon of superstar indie authors and has joined my list of must-buy authors. In my rating system (see On Books: Indie eBooks Worth Reading (I) for an explanation), she falls between Parkinson and Tyley. Her characterizations are better than Tyley’s but not as good as Parkinson’s. All three are 5-star writers.

Jameson’s lead character is Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant Kate Wakefield, a clearly lower-class denizen who puts her foot in her mouth more often than not. But Kate is a character you can touch, you can say is your next-door neighbor, is someone you want to see come out on top, is someone you can care for. Lord Hetheridge, her superior and chief superintendent, is the typical stiff, upperclass noble whose facade is cracked by Kate. Hetheridge’s character is written in such a way that a reader feels he or she can actually drink tea with this member of the nobility and feel comfortable doing so. The third major character is Detective Sergeant Paul Bhar, England-born but of Asian descent, who has a great sense of humor and such self-confidence that he steadies the investigative team and gives some “cheek” to the snobs of the upper crust of English society.

Altogether, the three primary characters are people you believe you can invite in for tea and biscuits (although they seem to prefer coffee) and not feel ill at ease.

The story itself is a typical British mystery, what one would expect from a Martha Grimes, Ruth Rendell, or P.D. James. And as is typical of British mysteries, everything is understated, by which I mean there are no blazing guns and mobsters that are typical of the American style — Ice Blue is more sedate and more involved in character development than in mystery development.

I rarely suggest to my wife that there is a book she must read; our reading tastes are generally too divergent. But occasionally I come across a book that is compelling. Again, the Tyley and Parkinson books fall into this category, as does Jameson’s Ice Blue. I will be interested to learn whether my wife agrees, especially as she is not a mystery lover.

For those of you looking for a new indie author to support, it is hard to go wrong with Ice Blue and Emma Jameson, especially at 99¢. I suggest giving her a try, particularly if you like the English-style mystery. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

14 Comments »

  1. Sold! Just downloaded it.🙂

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    Comment by Vicki — May 13, 2011 @ 5:00 am | Reply

  2. Having read, and thoroughly enjoyed this ebook I completely agree with what you have said about it here, Rich.

    Point to note, Emma is in fact an American, in spite of the setting and atmosphere of her splendid ebook. I was reading away, assuming she was British, until I stumbled upon a couple of American idioms, one of which has puzzled me a lot since it became the norm in American English, which is the use of “either” in place of (the correct) “niether”, and a couple of other Americanisms.

    But, this is nit-picking about a very well written and enjoyable book.

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    Comment by Tony Cole — May 13, 2011 @ 6:38 am | Reply

  3. Thanks for this review, I am definitely going to check this book out. I was wondering if you had read the new DL Wilson novel “Sirocco”? He is a great suspense fiction indie author and this new one just came out. I would love to read your review on it.

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    Comment by Tyler — May 13, 2011 @ 10:11 am | Reply

    • I haven’t read Sirocco, but I’ll check it out. No promises, however🙂. — I can’t find the book on Smashwords. Where is it available?

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      Comment by americaneditor — May 13, 2011 @ 11:49 am | Reply

  4. Sounds a lot like Elizabeth George’s trio of characters: Barbara Havers, Inspector Lynley, and Nkata. How would you compare Jameson to George?

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    Comment by anjirlly — May 13, 2011 @ 4:44 pm | Reply

    • It has been too many years since I last read an Elizabeth George novel for me to compare directly. I would infer that Jameson’s Ice Blue is as good a read as George. That the characterizations may be similar, I do not consider an impediment. I think Jameson deserves praise for her own writing skills, just as I believe the same about Vicki Tyley and Shayne Parkinson. I rarely see 100% innovation in a novel; most I find are variations on a familiar theme. Consequently, I look more at the story-telling ability and character development than for an innovated and unique plot.

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      Comment by americaneditor — May 14, 2011 @ 4:49 am | Reply

  5. I enjoy Elizabeth George, i must say in reading Jameson, it isn’t George that immediately comes to mind. Jameson stands well in her own right and does give a very good read. Jameson is a pseudonym for an American author which does explain some of the idiomatic mix that a prior commenter noted. i wouldn’t even be surprised to find out that this is actually a male writer.

    I too eagerly await the continued saga of these star-crossed lovers. The book is subtitled as part Lord and Lady Hetheridge Series, so presumably, Kate and Tony will marry and have many further adventures. It’s not the star-crossed lover story line that hooked me (in fact I feel that’s the weakest link) but rather the detective mystery elements which Jameson does handle very well.

    One odd note, several early reviewers on Amazon criticised, in their words. the “potty language” of the book. Either the author edited my kindle edition (one of the marvels of this electronic age) or I’m very jaded because I found nothing “blue” about the book.

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    Comment by Sharon — September 14, 2011 @ 8:10 am | Reply

  6. I was forunate to have won a print copy of Ice Blue from Emma Jameson. As a British mystery lover, I shared this book with my 93yr old Mother. We both loved the book because of the three main characters. Our wait is almost over or the next installment of Ch.Supt. Hetheridge, DS Wakefield, and DS Bhar.

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    Comment by Joanne Hicks — June 6, 2012 @ 8:57 pm | Reply

  7. […] from the list over the next few months. (I also have a list of ebook-only indie authors, like Emma Jameson, Michael Hicks, Vicki Tyley, Shayne Parkinson, Rebecca Forster, and L.J. Sellers, among others, who […]

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    Pingback by Why Aren’t Publishers Pushing eBooks? « An American Editor — August 22, 2012 @ 4:02 am | Reply

  8. […] for was Emma Jameson’s Blue Murder, which is her sequel to Ice Blue (which I reviewed in On Books: Ice Blue), at $4.99. Otherwise, all I have done is download free […]

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    Pingback by Are Free eBooks Killing the Market? « An American Editor — September 10, 2012 @ 4:05 am | Reply

  9. […] I paid for was Emma Jameson’s Blue Murder, which is her sequel to Ice Blue (which I reviewed in On Books: Ice Blue), at $4.99. Otherwise, all I have done is download free […]

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    Pingback by Free Ebooks - Good For Sales Or Not? | eBookanoid.com — September 11, 2012 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

  10. […] I paid for was Emma Jameson’s Blue Murder, which is her sequel to Ice Blue (which I reviewed in On Books: Ice Blue), at .99. Otherwise, all I have done is download free […]

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    Pingback by Are Free eBooks Killing the Market? Ponderings On This Topic | Ebooks on Crack — September 12, 2012 @ 12:30 am | Reply

  11. […] by Keary Taylor,” “The Book of Adam: Stimulating Thought Via a Novel,” “On Books: Ice Blue,” and my favorite indie author, Vicki Tyley, “On Books: Murder Down Under“; […]

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    Pingback by Worth Noting: A Great Book Deal at Smashwords | An American Editor — July 7, 2014 @ 4:03 am | Reply


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