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A seductive writer with an imagination that makes her dangerous to know.' Sunday Express When elderly Ailsa Lockyer-Fox is found dead in her garden, dressed only in nightclothes, the finger of suspicion points at her wealthy, landowning husband, Colonel James Lockyer-Fox. A Coroner's inquest gives a verdict of natural causes' but the gossip surrounding James refuses to go away. Why? Because he's guilty? Or because resentful women rule the roost in the isolated Dorset village where he lives? Shenstead has become a ghost village and, with only five houses in permanent occupation, it's a place of too few people and too many secrets. Into this embattled community comes a group of New Age travellers with dreams of laying claim to a tract of disputed land, bordering the Lockyer-Fox estate. Their leader, Fox Evil, is a man of contradictions charismatic, unpredictable until he demonstrates that acquiring a stake in Shenstead is the least of his intentions ...In this her ninth superb thriller, Walters tells a riveting story of unlikely alliances between strangers, whose clearer eyes and compassionate natures reveal evil for what it really is.
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Minette Walters has well and truly established herself as one of the most exciting crime fiction writers today. Each new book reaches number one on the Australian bestseller lists, and almost all of her previous novels have now been adapted as television dramas. Minette lives in Dorset with her husband and two children.From Publishers Weekly:
Walters (The Ice House; The Sculptress; Acid Row) is considered by many to be the preeminent crime novelist writing in England today. This psychological thriller, her ninth novel, should satisfy both aficionados of the traditional English cozy and readers who prefer mysteries with a grimmer edge. Walters's dark drama unfolds in the tiny Dorset village of Shenstead, where Col. James Lockyer-Fox's wife, Ailsa, dressed only in flimsy nightclothes and boots, has been found dead on the terrace of Shenstead Manor. A coroner's jury declares James not guilty, but a telephone harassment campaign by unknown persons accuses him not only of the murder but other heinous crimes as well. This unrelenting pressure drives the colonel into a deep and debilitating depression. London solicitor Mark Ankerton steps in to prove his friend James innocent and to clear up the question of just what Ailsa was doing locked out of the house on a freezing night in her underwear and Wellies. His investigation leads him to a nearby group of Travelers-modern-day gypsies who roam the countryside in converted buses-who are squatting on unclaimed land, attempting to seize the property. The Travelers are led by the monstrously evil Fox, whose own agenda is much more complicated than a simple desire for free real estate. Award winner Walters rounds out her novel with several subplots, including confrontations between fox hunters and hunt saboteurs and other small scandals of rural life, all tied in the end to the resolution of the story. The writer's many fans will thoroughly enjoy this hefty, stand-alone mystery, but psychological thriller readers who are more interested in thrills than psychology may find the going a bit too slow and the eventual denouement too complicated by half.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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