Books by Anthea Fraser

SINS OF THE FATHERS by Anthea Fraser
Released: Aug. 1, 2018

"Instead of a run-of-the-mill mystery, Fraser (Retribution, 2018, etc.) provides a series of puzzles and stories of love gone wrong that make her tale of tangled family relationships consistently absorbing."
A chance meeting and a hasty decision plunge a young man into another family's problems as well as his own. Read full book review >
RETRIBUTION by Anthea Fraser
Released: March 1, 2017

"Fraser showcases a delightful heroine whose own life, along with the lives of her friends and family, is consistently more interesting than the circuitous murder cases she is asked to solve."
A biographer inherits an interesting challenge that may have led to murder. Read full book review >
A TANGLED THREAD by Anthea Fraser
Released: Jan. 1, 2016

"Once again, Fraser (The Unburied Past, 2013, etc.) uses complicated domestic relationships as the basis for a good mystery served up with plenty of family angst."
A murdered man in Blaircomrie, Scotland, seems to have no identity; then he has too many. Read full book review >
THE UNBURIED PAST by Anthea Fraser
Released: Sept. 1, 2013

"There's not much mysterious in this pleasant cozy, but Fraser (A Question of Identity, 2012, etc.) provides some sympathetically prickly characters."
Siblings work to solve their parents' murders. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2012

"A plot overburdened with coincidences. And surely most readers will find telepathy as a plot device problematic."
When love dies, which is the better option, divorce or murder? Read full book review >
SHIFTING SANDS by Anthea Fraser
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"The romances, which are more interesting than the murder, make for a modestly involving read characteristic of Fraser's output (Unfinished Portrait, 2010, etc.)."
Whose grief is more intense, the widow's or her adult children's? Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2010

"Likeable, forgettable Rona (Next Door to Murder, 2008, etc.) is ill-served here by an imploding plotline."
Is it coincidence or worse that after one artist dies another disappears? Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2009

"Creepy and unsettling, although that final twist is a bit over the top for Fraser (Next Door to Murder, 2008, etc.), who's usually more circumspect."
Three victims, each murdered twice, appear in disparate parts of England. Read full book review >
NEXT DOOR TO MURDER by Anthea Fraser
Released: June 1, 2008

"Once again, Fraser tracks an appealing family whose activities sometimes overshadow the mystery but are always entertaining."
Helping out a new neighbor puts a writer in a dangerous position. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2007

"Stamped from the same mold as the last entry in the Marsborough series (A Family Concern, 2006, etc.). The mystery's not up to snuff, but fans will doubtless enjoy the ongoing Parish family saga."
Old secrets come to light with the usual unpleasant results. Read full book review >
A FAMILY CONCERN by Anthea Fraser
Released: April 1, 2006

"Rona's ever-absorbing family issues and a competent conundrum make this another hit in Fraser's Marsborough series."
Christmastide brings no comfort or joy to several Marsborough families. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2005

"Clear your calendar: Sympathetic characters draw you in to an absorbing search that keeps you guessing until the last chapter."
Biographer Rona Parish (Brought to Book, 2003, etc.) is finishing up a series of articles when a chance meeting fills her quiet life with danger. Read full book review >
BROUGHT TO BOOK by Anthea Fraser
Released: July 1, 2003

"A decent puzzler with surprises popping up at respectable intervals."
Having run Chief Inspector Webb through all his nursery-song-titled paces (The Twelve Apostles, 2000, etc.), Fraser bares the havoc set off by a biographer who chooses too dangerous a subject. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2000

"Fortunately, we have Inspector Webb on hand to sort things out."
The Twelve Apostles ($25.00; Mar.; 224 pp.; 0-7278-5494-1): The new Chief Inspector Webb tale from Fraser (Eleven Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

Richard Vine and his self-effacing wife Natasha own Bellingham Grange, a conference center in Shillingham, the bailiwick of DCI David Webb (One is One and All Alone, 1998, etc.). Mostly devoted to gatherings of business people and writers, this latest meeting—Vine's whimsical idea—has brought together 20 Richard Vines, most with wives. Now it's over and five of the couples are taking the local minibus, driven by much-liked John Bainbridge, to the train station. Suddenly, though, the bus crashes on the way, killing all but two passengers. Horror intensifies with the discovery that a deliberate act of vandalism had made the disaster inevitable. Now Webb and his team go to work, trying to find some motive behind the heinous crime. There seems to be a connection to Bainbridge's job change some years back and to the send-off party his workers gave him, even though he seemed unwell at the time and German measles were plaguing the area. Matters are further complicated when, at a writers" conference at the Grange, the body of Erica Mann, recently back from the US, is found, seemingly a suicide. More questions are raised with the appearance at Headquarters of Bainbridge's close friend Doug Leyton, who's insistent on taking the blame for the crash. It's all wrapped up, unconvincingly in the final pages of one of Fraser's sillier flights of fancy, layered with neurotic personalities, several illicit affairs, and Webb's own lethargic relationship with neighbor Hannah. Not one of the author's many admirable outings. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 8, 1998

Una Bennett, owner of a successful small business, has married widower Malcolm Bennett, highly respected Detective Chief in the Lethbridge police force and father to grown children Jane, Sally, and Tim—all three of whom had hoped he would marry teacher Barbara Wood, spinster sister of their late, beloved mother Carol, and are not warmly disposed to Una. Meanwhile, Malcolm and his old friend and colleague DCI Dave Webb (The Seven Stars, 1997, etc.), who's stationed in nearby Shillingham, are trying to deal with a series of shop robberies in the area. They have lunch together on Malcolm's birthday, celebrated that night at a constrained dinner with Una and his family. Days later, Una finds Malcolm clubbed to death in his easy chair, the TV still on, tuned to the big-game channel he—d been watching, and a window pane broken in the back door. Within a week there's a second fatality in the family as Webb and his men try to sort out connections to the robberies, to Malcolm's stolen ring, and to the unloving relationship between Una and Malcolm's family. An unfussy, straightforward narrative that manages to explore its emotional interactions with sensitivity and, despite an unsurprising finish, to maintain a nice level of suspense. Read full book review >
THE SEVEN STARS by Anthea Fraser
Released: Aug. 17, 1997

Helen Campbell's marriage to Andrew, an insurance claims adjuster is in trouble. Their two children are grown, and a restless Helen is thinking of renewing her old career in the antiques trade. Driving home one night from a visit to daughter Penelope, a university student, Helen is delayed by heavy fog and thankfully takes a room at The Seven Stars, a B&B along the way. As she's parking her car, a young woman runs out of the inn's doorway. Her body is found later that night—victim of a hit and run. Meanwhile, Chief Inspector David Webb of the nearby Shillingham police (The Gospel Makers, 1996, etc.) is trying to dredge up information from a botched attempt to break into Beckworth House- -one of a series of robberies of stately homes across the county, all of them marked by the theft of one or only a few not-always- valuable objects. Some days later Helen returns to Steeple Bayliss to take a two-week course on antiques, staying again at The Seven Stars, where, as on her first stay, she detects some odd cross- currents amongst owners Stella and Gordon Cain, Stella's sister Kate and brother-in-law Nicholas Warren; disquieting things, too, about their visitor Dominic Hardy—disturbing enough to drive Helen to the local police station, where, eventually, her total recall helps Webb solve a case in which the latest break-in has resulted in murder. Readable and fitfully intriguing, but undermined by too many coincidences, a clumsily absurd conspiracy, and an underlying motive literally not to be believed. Read full book review >
MOTIVE FOR MURDER by Anthea Fraser
Released: April 15, 1997

If Emily Barton had ever read a modern gothic, she'd never have taken that secretarial job with eminent Cornwall novelist Matthew Haig. Now, immured in crusty Matthew's chilly household- -along with his lonely daughter Sarah, his disapproved cousin Mike Stacey, the servants who politely decline to answer her questions about her so abruptly vanished predecessor—she can only wonder what ever became of vibrant Linda Harvey, and why conversation always falters whenever Emily asks where the best places are for a swim. Experienced readers, of course, will know from the beginning what happened to Linda, and—once Emily has brushed off an unsubtle, unwelcome pass from a crass interloper to reveal a straightforward romantic triangle among herself, Mike, and Matthew—will be able to venture confident guesses about much else besides. (Such readers will be a lot less surprised than Emily by the revelation that Linda was an excellent swimmer.) The twist here—that Matthew's novel, Motive for Murder, is a fictionalized account of an unsolved recent case, the bludgeoning of a local artist—does nothing to disrupt the modest, though genuine, pleasures of the secretary-in-peril genre. Readers most familiar with the genre, however, are least likely to be caught napping. Fraser (I'll Sing You Two-O, 1996, etc.) unveils each eminently predictable development with professional skill. Read full book review >
I'LL SING YOU TWO-O by Anthea Fraser
Released: Dec. 12, 1996

The White twins of Shillingham—-young, blond, and identical—-are window washers by trade, football hooligans and small-time thieves on the side. Their bodies are discovered in the back of their beat-up van, covered by a tarp, keys in the ignition. Monica Tovey had heard the van sputter to a stop late at night on her quiet street and had seen in the streetlight the face of a man walking away. In his 12th case, Detective Chief Inspector David Webb heads the investigation (The Gospel Makers, 1996, etc.) and after single, 40-ish Monica gets a series of mysterious phone calls, keeps her under watch as she goes about her business— running Randall Tovey, the upscale women's shop founded by her grandfather, and serving as a town magistrate. Webb and his team carefully explore the twins' background and the businesses they serviced, one of which is the art gallery owned by Harry Marlow. Harry had once been engaged to Monica's sister Eloise, who'd jilted him for marriage to wine dealer Justin Teal. Now, years later, Harry, married to Claudia, and the Teals are best friends—or are they? Red herrings are strewn across the scene with abandon, but in the end Webb's artistic interests and some long-standing residents' complaints come together to solve the puzzle. Diminished a bit by a not very convincing killer, but, still, a competent, civilized police procedural, enhanced by sensitive probing of snarled relationships and a nicely drawn small-town ambiance. Read full book review >
THE GOSPEL MAKERS by Anthea Fraser
Released: Feb. 14, 1996

A new case for Detective Chief Inspector David Webb, of the Shillingham police (Three, Three, the Rivals, p. 108), starts with a major problem—who is the man found dead in a room at the Kings Arms Hotel, leaving not a shred of identification, and who were the two people glimpsed with him in the hotel bar? The man's identity, eventually uncovered by painstaking police work, grows even more important when it's determined that a lethal injection was the cause of death. The victim, revealed to be one Philip Kershaw, had come from France to settle the estate of his recently deceased, long-estranged mother. That estate, it turns out, had been left to the Church of the Final Revelation, not long ago established in a house in Shillingham and being quietly investigated by Inspector Nina Petrie, who finds herself fighting off its seductive message- -as well as an attraction to Daniel, one of its acolytes. The Revelationists are also intruding into the life of Webb's girlfriend Hannah James, deputy headmistress at a private girl's school, where timid English teacher Mattie Hendrix has kept secret her connection to the Church and where two students have been clandestinely attending Church meetings. The ecstatically awaited visit of the Church's American leader pulls together all these facets and more, bringing the case to a tension-loaded finale. Suspense and a feeling of menace build steadily, enhanced by real-life characters and a lively, straight-ahead writing style: a winner on all counts in the British traditional stakes, and Fraser's best to date. Read full book review >
Released: March 21, 1995

The latest in Fraser's ``Green Grown the Rushes-O'' series (Symbols at Your Door, 1991, etc.) takes DCI David Webb back to his hometown of Erlesborough—and to a murder case he'd rather not solve. The catalyst is Webb's sister Sheila Fairchild, who as a child had once seen a ghost—a shrouded figure rising from a grave—she mentioned to her friends at the local coffee shop. Hours later, old Billy Makepeace, who'd overheard her story—a farmer who'd been feuding with her late father since before she was born—had broken a lifetime habit and phoned her. Before she could return his call he was dead, drowned in what turns out to be a suspicious accident. Clearly Billy saw more in the ghost story than Sheila did herself; but when Webb traces the ghost to a third rival of his father's—Dick Vernon, who stepped out for cigarettes a few days after his sister died and never came back- -he's left with another unsolved murder nearly 50 years old, a murder whose prime suspect is his own father. A disappointing solution, but put over with real ingenuity and deeper feeling than Fraser usually evokes in this uneven series. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1991

Shillingham's Detective Chief Inspector David Webb (Six Proud Walkers, etc.) is trying to find out who killed pretty, lonely Carol Dexter, recently settled in the village of Beckworth, site of the stately home and estates of the Duke of Hampshire, whose gentrified old cottages are being bought up by affluent weekenders and commuters to London. The locals are resentful and unfriendly; the newcomers who live in the city like isolation from one another, even after a spate of graffiti on their front doors and a robbery. There seems no apparent motive for Carol's death—and none for the soon to follow stabbing murder of her neighbor Neil Carey, whose wife Alison runs the catering facility at the manor house. Webb and sidekick Jackson do their tenacious best, but the dual solution is arrived at mostly by accident and delivered with scarcely a frisson of excitement. Sluggish country procedural, with some mildly interesting sociological sidelights on the decline of a village. Read full book review >
SIX PROUD WALKERS by Anthea Fraser
Released: Jan. 1, 1988

Shillingham C.I.D.'s low-keyed, intuitive Chief Inspector David Webb (A Shroud for Delilah, etc.) is spending weekends in Honeyford with girlfriend Hannah James while she house-sits for a friend on holiday. One of schoolmistress Hannah's students is Faye Walker, a granddaughter of the close-knit Walker family of Honeyford, makers of world-renowned porcelain. Matriarch Dorothy is still active in the business, along with sons Neville and Howard, while artist son Robin designs for the firm. At 40, he's soon to marry TV newswoman Eleanor Darby. But an unpleasant scene at the 18th birthday party of Neville's son Gavin is an omen of far worse to come. Two days later, Dorothy Walker is found bludgeoned to death in her drawing room, and Webb takes charge of the investigation. There's still more shocking news in store for the family, climaxed by a second murder. But it's not until Webb finds the reason for the breakup of Faye's blossoming romance with neighbor Clive Ten-by and reexamines alibis in minute detail that he closes in on the killer—which puts Webb some distance behind the reader. A fresh and convincing plot, with its horrors underlined by the cool reserve of most of the characters. Quite, literate, competent, but just this side of compelling. Read full book review >