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Sunday 10 October 2021

‘False Charity’ by Veronica Heley

Published by Soundings Audio books.
Read by Patience Tomlinson

Bea Abbott returns home to London from New Zealand after an absence of three years. She returns a widow, her beloved husband Hamilton having died during their round the world trip.  She is 63 and the Abbott Agency founded by her husband and passed to her son Max is now being wound up. For Max is now an MP and his wife, the anorexic Nicola is keen to only to get her husband up the ladder of social success.

So, Bea expects to return to a quiet house, and a quiet life.  But life is rarely what we expect it to be, and Bea discovers that far from peace and quiet she has two people living in her house, a hang over from the Agency that is not yet totally defunct, and a couple of unhappy clients, that Max has washed his hands of.  One of them Coral Payne, an old friend and long-time client falls on Bea’s return with thankfulness’, now she declares things will be sorted. But on cursory investigation it is clear that Coral’s problem is not that straight forward, and still suffering from jet-lag and the grief on the loss of her husband, Bea finds herself somewhat overwhelmed by events. 

Whilst an excellent mystery that kept me glued to my cassette player, I found Bea’s reliance on what would Hamilton do in these circumstances very endearing – it was clearly her way of working through her grief and I can only conclude that the writer has some experience of this. It was certainly very well done.

Patience Tomlinson was an excellent Bea, and her range of voices for the other characters is astounding.  The hesitant Oliver, the slightly shrill Maggie, pompous Max, and Bea’s first husband, Piers, all took on their own individual voice read by Patience Tomlinson. Very enjoyable listening.

Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Veronica Heley enjoys giving talks and workshops about writing. She runs her own bookstall and has been married to a probation officer for forty something years, They have one married, musician daughter. For fun Veronica reads anything and everything. She's been a member of a book reading club for forty years. She enjoys meeting friends for coffee, she gardens, she plays patience with real cards...and think about stories she hasn't yet had time to write. 

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