images_049Auntie M had the pleasure of meeting Frances Fyfield at St Hilda’s this August, where her riveting talk proved what I’d already suspected: here was an intelligent criminal lawyer who had a terrific knowledge of human character and was able to translate that into the highly complex and readable novels I’d always enjoyed. Fyfield worked as a lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Services, where she learned first-hand about murder. Though writing is now her main vocation, the law and its ramifications continue to inspire many of her novels.

Auntie M thought she’d read every Fyfield novel available: the Helen West series, the Sara Fortune series, and several stand-alones, all carefully crafted and thoroughly enjoyable to read for crime enthusiasts.

Therefore, it was a delight to find a new release of one she’d missed through Witness Impulse as an ebook: Blood From Stone, which won the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award from the Crime Writers Association when it first appeared in 2008.

Marianne Shearer is at the height of her career, a dauntingly successful lawyer, respected by her peers and revered by her clients, even though those who know her well understand the ruthless nature that drives her.  Her latest case had again resulted in an acquittal, although the outcome was principally due to the death of the prime witness after Marianne’s forceful cross-examination.

Then why would she commit suicide in a dramatic and very public way?

Is it possible that this wholly professional and unemotional lawyer been struck by guilt or uncertainty, or is there some secret to be discovered in her rigid yet comfortable private life? Thomas Noble has been handled the job of executor of her estate. Her younger colleague Peter Friel is determined to find out of that last trial held the reason for her taking her own life. Together Noble and Friel will attempt to find out the reason Shearer felt she should end her successful and comfortable life.

The transcript of Shearer’s last trial holds intriguing clues, and excerpts from it give the reader a clear picture of Shearer’s scathing style in court and her ability to demean and demoralize the prosecutor’s witness. Then the sister of the last victim becomes involved and may be the one who holds the key to the truth. A most interesting woman in her own right, Henrietta Joyce’s sister had taken her own life after being subjected to Shearer’s style. Hen finds herself helping Friel and Noble unravel the secrets of Marianne Shearer’s life.

Fyfield has the ability to create fully-realized and very human characters who immediately capture the readers interest and Blood From Stone is a perfect example of Fyfield’s highly satisfying novels.

This January, Witness Impulse will be publishing two more classic Frances Fyfield titles, available to e-readers in the United States. Auntie M thoroughly enjoyed both of these and can highly recommend each book. The first is another stand-alone and the second is part of the Helen West series. Both illustrate Fyfield’s strengths in characterization, complex plots, and highly readable books that will have readers searching for others.

UNDERCURRENTS will be on sale January 7, 2014

For twenty years Henry Evans has been haunted by the memory of Francesca, the one who got away. When he travels to England to re-connect with his long lost love, what he finds is a horrific shock: Francesca is imprisoned for murdering her five-year-old son. But Henry refuses to believe Francesca is guilty, even if she did confess – in chilling detail – to drowning her own child.  In his search for the truth, Henry will find that the darkest of evils are hidden deep beneath the surface…

“Psychologically astute yet eminently readable, UNDERCURRENTS offers the tug of true suspense while probing the eerie confluence of love and loss.” – The Washington Post

DEEP SLEEP  goes on sale January 21, 2014 and was a CWA Silver Dagger Winner.

Pip Carlton is a devoted husband and a highly respected pharmacist, cherished by his loyal customers. When his wife dies in her sleep, with no apparent cause, he is distraught. Comforted by his caring assistant, Pip ignores the rumors about Margaret’s death, relieved that the police seem to have moved on. But Prosecutor Helen West refuses to believe that Margaret simply slipped into her final slumber. As she probes deeper into the affairs of the neighborhood, she uncovers a viper’s nest of twisted passion, jealous rage, and lethal addictions.  As a sudden act of violence erupts, shaking the community, one lone man, armed with strange love potions, prepares to murder again…

 Several of the Helen West series have been serialized for television and her novels have been translated into fourteen languages. If you haven’t discovered the treasure of of the work of Frances Fyfield yet, you’re in for a treat. Don’t forget her when you’re looking for holiday gifts for your reading fans, too.

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