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    A rollicking good yarn

    This is a very good book. Interesting and varied characters, great dialogue between them and an interesting insight into the lives of country folk and seaside villagers and smugglers and how those lives were financed at the time. It's set in the late 18th century against a background between Britain and some European countries, particularly France. The history of the times adds to the story. (one thing - the people of the time seem to have a great mail service with letters and replies often sent, delivered and replied to within the same day; why can't modern postal services match that standard??)
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    Wonderful historical murder mystery!

    Excellently written and brilliantly captures the life and times of 18th century Romney Marsh. Intricate plotline and marvellous characters. Get reading! ;-)
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    great story

    this story keeps your interest right to the end with plenty of twists and turns, can't wait for the next one.
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    The body in the boat.

    I don't bother with reviews! THIS time I do. This book was excellent, one of those books making one go to bed early to get more reading in. A book that makes one think,what the hell will I do when I finish? MacKenzie has an incredible imagination. The book is worth far more than I paid for it. Thank you A. J .MacKenzie.
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    The investigation leads up to a very lively climax

    Apart from a joyous six months in Cumbria I have lived all of my fairly long life within fifty miles of Romney Marsh yet until I read this book I had not realised how exciting a place it used to be. The Body in the Boat is the third book published in the Hardcastle and Chaytor Mystery series. In it, A. J. Mackenzie describes a very different world to the relatively peaceful image that we tend to have of late 18th Century South East England. The action takes place during the French Revolutionary Wars when trade across the Channel was severely restricted and most goods were heavily taxed. Smuggling was not only rife but it also appears to have been accepted by most of the local population who preferred the term Free Trade. In those days the illegal cargoes were fine cloths and gold to France; wines, spirits and “vanities” into England. From the opening pages the book has intense atmosphere. I loved the mood that was generated by the isolation of the marsh with its sparse population, declining harbours and its contrasts to the relatively prosperous surrounding higher ground. Mackenzie also provides excellent detail of banking at that time and of the judiciary prior to the police forces as we know them today. The book has some excellent characters; Hardcastle who doubles as a parish priest and an investigating Justice of the Peace, Joshua Stemp as his Parish Constable and The Rider who appears in the latter stages of the book. My favourite was the gutsy widow Amelia Chaytor who I saw as an early Emma Peel; just replace the Lotus Elan with a one-horse, two seater gig. The investigation leads up to a very lively climax. Could it have been better? If so, then not greatly. I have awarded The Body in the Boat four and a half stars.
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