Crime Fiction Alphabet – Letter F

This week Kerrie’s Crime Fiction Alphabet has reached the letter F and I’ve chosen to highlight Frances Fyfield and in particular her novel The Art of Drowning.

Frances Fyfield is a British crime writer who as a lawyer worked for the Crown Prosecution Service. She has written a number of books and won the following awards:

  • Edgar Awards – Best Novel Nominee (1990): A Question of Guilt
  • Dagger Awards – Best Novel Nominee (2006) Safer Than Houses
  • Dagger Awards – Best Novel Winner (2008) Blood from Stone

The Art of Drowning

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New edition edition (4 Oct 2007)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0751536202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751536201
  • Source: Library Book

Description from Frances Fyfield’s website

Rachel Doe is a shy accountant at a low ebb in life when she meets charismatic Ivy Schneider, nee Wiseman, at her evening class and her life changes for the better. Ivy is her polar opposite: strong, six years her senior and the romantic survivor of drug addiction, homelessness and the death of her child. Ivy does menial shift work, beholden to no one, and she inspires life; as do her farming parents, with their ramshackle house and its swan-filled lake, the lake where Ivy’s daughter drowned. As Rachel grows closer to them all she learns how Ivy came to be married to Carl, the son of a WWII prisoner, as well as the true nature of that marriage to a bullying and ambitious lawyer who has become a judge and who denies her access to her surviving child. Rachel wants justice for Ivy, but Ivy has another agenda and Rachel’s naive sense of fair play is no match for the manipulative qualities of the Wisemen women.

My thoughts

This is a very edgy and tense crime thriller as Rachel determines to find Carl and bring about a reconciliation between him and Ivy and her parents. Right from the start I felt all was not it seemed to be on the surface and actually disliked most of the characters. But that didn’t prevent me liking this book.  The story is compelling, well paced and full of that creepy feeling of something not quite right – sinister references to past events signalling that not all the characters can be trusted – just who is telling the truth and how did Ivy’s daughter die?

7 thoughts on “Crime Fiction Alphabet – Letter F”

  1. Margaret – Thanks for this fine review. I have to admit I haven’t read this one yet, but I do know exactly what you mean about not liking characters, but liking a book. That’s happened to me, too. This is a really interesting choice for the letter “F!”

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  2. I haven’t read Fyfield for years. I remember reading one of her books (can’t remember which one now) and thinking that there was gratuitous violence and while you can’t read crime or thrillers without a bit of violence I don’t like it to go over the top just for the sake of a cheap thrill. Perhaps it is time to go back and re-assess my opinion.

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  3. I found two of her novels in the library years ago, and though I liked them, I found them rather quiet. But perhaps it is time to give her a second chance.

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    1. Dorte, I didn’t find this quiet. If you try another book it may be different – I’ve only read two of her books and neither were quiet or over the top.

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  4. I recall liking Frances Fyfield’s Helen West Novels but being less taken with her others. She does what she does very well, but at the moment there are other crime writers whose books call me much louder.

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