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Monday 30 April 2018

‘Sins of the Fathers’ by Anthea Fraser

Published by Severn House,
30 April 2018.
ISBN: 978-0-7278-8790-0

Two parallel stories linked by a single character: that's the form veteran author Anthea Fraser has chosen for her fiftieth book.

Mark Richmond is about to set off on a walking holiday, a welcome escape from the car crash his life has become, but he hasn't even bought his train ticket when he becomes the subject of a bizarre case of mistaken identity. Mark has nowhere he urgently needs to be, so he allows his holiday to be hijacked by the rather pushy Helena Crawford and agrees to take the place of the man she mistook him for to pose as her fiancé at a family party in Scotland. Meanwhile, back in leafy Kent, his mother, mother-in-law and wife are dealing with the fallout of a family tragedy, the details of which emerge in flashback as Mark's Scottish escapade progresses.

Skeletons tumble out of cupboards at an alarming rate in both locations, and Mark's brother and his wife, a workmate with too many secrets, and a friend of Mark's wife become entangled in the Kent-based storyline. Up in Scotland there's the inscrutable young woman who keeps turning up, and unanswered questions about both Helena's and her parents' pasts.

The perfect background, you might think, to a classic country house murder mystery. But no; instead, Anthea Fraser has opted to create a good old-fashioned tale of families in crisis. Old-fashioned in the best possible sense: meticulously written, with well-balanced characters, beautifully described locations and enough underlying tension and narrative drive to pull the reader along to the neatly tied-off ends of both stories.

If you're in search of some light bedtime reading you need look no further. Anthea Fraser has garnered many plaudits through a writing career which has spanned almost half a century. Sins of the Fathers lives up to the sound reputation she has gained.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Anthea Mary Fraser  began composing poems and stories before she could write. At the age of five she announced that she wanted to be an author. Her first professional publications were short stories. Her first novel was published in 1970, and her first significant success was with her 1974 novel Laura Possessed, which had a paranormal theme, and was followed by 6 other similarly themed novels. She then wrote some romantic suspense stories before turning to writing crime fiction. She has created two mystery novel series, the first featuring Detective Chief Inspector David Webb' with the Shillingham police. There are 16 novels in this series. The second series features 'Rona Parish', a biographer and freelance journalist. Anthea Fraser served as secretary of the Crime Writer’ Association  from 1986 to 1996. She has also published five novels under the pen name 'Vanessa Graham'.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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