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Gold Digger [Paperback]

Frances Fyfield
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

28 Nov 2013

The warmth of him, the glorious warmth, was fading by the minute.

In a huge old school house by the sea, full of precious paintings, Thomas Porteous is dying. His much younger wife Di holds him and mourns. She knows that soon, despite her being his sole inheritor, Thomas's relatives will descend on the collection that was the passion of both of their lives.

And descend they do. The two needy daughters, who were poisoned against their father by their defecting mother, are now poison themselves. With the help of an unlikely collection of loners and eccentrics, Di sets a trap to hoist the family members on their own greed. And on the night they are lured to the house, Di will be ready.

Or will she?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (28 Nov 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751549681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751549683
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frances Fyfield has spent much of her professional life practising as a criminal lawyer, work which has informed her highly acclaimed crime novels. She has been the recipient of both the Gold and Silver Crime Writers'Association Daggers. She is also a regular broadcaster on Radio 4, most recently as the presenter of the series 'Tales from the Stave'. She lives in London and in Deal, overlooking the sea which is her passion.

Product Description


This excellent mystery, complete with crimes, clues and red herrings, is also a novel of character and a very good one too (Literary Review)

Fyfield specialises in sympathetic portraits of social misfits and the misunderstood . . . This is a subtle but razor-sharp dissection of a family at war (Guardian)

A novel of character in which fully realised protagonists are developed with a skill approaching that of such writers as Iris Murdoch...Her understanding of the way human beings behave when jealousy and resentment power their actions remains as insightful as ever (Independent)

This humane and beautifully written novel is full of almost sensuous detail not just about art but about living itself. Classic Fyfield, in other words, and highly recommended (Spectator)

Frances Fyfield is an original...[she] writes with such persuasive beauty and emotional subtlety (The Times)

Frances Fyfield is a veteran crime writer, and it shows here, with her novel well constructed and fittingly suspenseful (Sunday Business Post Ireland)

As ever with Fyfield, the liveliness and range of her characters is a key factor (Good Book Guide)

Book Description

A haunting tale of psychological suspense from the CWA Gold Dagger award-winner

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars conspiracy by the sea 5 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In an English seaside town an old, rich man has died, leaving everything to his very young wife. Naturally, his estranged family members are not willing to accept this.
I think the house is the main character in this book: housing a comprehensive art collection, it is large, rambling, deceptive and full of secrets and surprises - much like the cast of flawed individuals who inhabit it.
As the secrets are revealed and the characters develop, an interesting story emerges and the consequences of greed, envy and dishonesty are revealed.

I have read most of Frances Fyfield's thrillers and enjoyed them, as I did this one. I just wish she would check out the correct meaning of 'jailbait' though - it doesn't mean any female who has been in prison!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it, but... 16 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you're looking for a fast-paced, gritty crime novel, this is not for you; in fact, it's barely a crime novel at all. I can't even describe it as a psychological thriller. It's more like magical realism, where each character represents some aspect of a fable or fairy tale, behaves according to stereotype, and is to be either liked or loathed. It does not take place in the real world, but in a strange fantasy land -- not sure where, but I'd surmise on the North Essex/Suffolk coast, in a small seaside town (so behind the times that the hairdresser is apparently using products and techniques left over from the early 1960s)... yet trains apparently go into St Pancras, which is strange, as I didn't think it served any coastal areas; Liverpool Street, surely?

(One gripe, which I often have about novels in which violence occurs -- people who have been hit on the head with heavy objects, and knocked out, tend to suffer permanent brain damage, and at the very least need in-patient medical attention; they do not just dab a bit if witch hazel on it and carry on.)

In summary: yes, I enjoyed reading this for what it was; but what it was supposed to be is rather beyond me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gold Digger. F. Fyfield. 16 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Splendid story; excellently told.
Spoilt only by overuse of the f-word and the c-word. As a female author with legal training and of a certain age, this added little to plot or character development.. A more judicious use of both in future M/S F.!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine thriller with a quirky cast of characters 24 Dec 2012
I've been reading Frances Fyfield's books for years now and I believe she's up there with Ruth Rendell and P D James as the trio of top British crime writers. In Gold Digger we return to the world of her earlier novel Undercurrents, surely based on where she lives in Deal, a small town on the Kent Coast.

Fyfield takes a great deal of care in developing her characters. Thomas Porteous, an elderly art collector, takes a shine to Di Quigley, a girl from a troubled family who tried to burgle him when she was 17. Thomas sent her art books while she was in prison and when she came out, they got together and despite a huge age difference they develped a deep affinity leading to an unlikely marriage. The people in the town suspect that Di is just a gold-digger, but there is far more to her than that and her devotion to Thomas is based on how he has taught her to develop her love for fine art.

Fyfield describes Thomas and Di's eccentric life together in the rambling old house which Thomas inherited years ago, stuffed full of paintings old and new. The devoted couple share a love for paintings and delight in rescuing even obscure works which the world seems to have passed by. But Thomas is now very old and has two grasping daughters who see Di as a threat to the inheritance on which they have been banking for years. When Thomas dies, the two daughters turn out to be a venomous pair who together with one of their husbands form an unholy trinity, determined to play as dirty as they can to retrieve what they have lost in their father's will.

The pleasure in this book lies in the atmosphere Fyfield creates in this small coastal town. It is almost a world of its own, a bubble of eccentricity, which the two daughters seem determine to prick in order to get their way.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than gold 24 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have loved Frances Fyfield's books for many years, and her earlier book, "The Playroom" is, in my opinion, superb and should be required reading for anyone working in the social services or child protection fields. "Gold Digger" has the hallmarks of this fine writer: suspense, good believably flawed characters, an understanding of the circumsances which affect a person's actions, and an interesting story. Compassion is one of her trademarks and here it is shown in spades! She is far better thansome lother, more vaunted, writers.
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By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Everything rests in this book on whether the reader can accept that Thomas Porteous is a man brave and foolish enough to fall in love with a thief, a woman, who has broken into his house and as she is serving time for the burglary he sends her books about art, educates her and on her release, marries her. She is seen in the area as a gold digger but their love is palpable, deep and abiding and the book begins with his death.

Now the onslaught of his family begins as they are outraged at being left out of his Will, and what a crew of monsters they are. In fact, the extremes of their rapacious personalities gave me pause. One has to have villains in a Frances Fyfield book, of course, and they can’t be less than extraordinary or dramatically interesting, but this crew of villains have very little in the way of common humanity and scenes of oppression, particularly those involving Thomas’s grandson Patrick, were often over the top. Greed is the abiding motive, and there are a few ambiguous characters that suggest ambivalent motives. But I couldn’t quite believe in some of FF’s characterisations. Anyone can be driven by greed, but this lot were well over the top. Unfortunately, that spoilt this book for me. Fyfield is capable of much more subtle and realistic work. Indeed, she is known for the subtlety of her plot work and characters. In this case, the book lost me and it just did not work for me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It was ok
I enjoyed the prospect of what this book promised: dark old house, remote location by the sea, a mystery. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Josey Wales
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb
I gave it 4 stars because it took a little while to get into, then couldn't put it down. Lots of twists and turns. A great read.
Published 11 months ago by christalj
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
I bought "Gold Digger" on the strength of Fyfield's previous books and was not disappointed in her style and characterization. Read more
Published 16 months ago by M. E. Urban
5.0 out of 5 stars The female protagonist is wonderful
A superb book that provides the reader with total knowledge and total ignorance at the same time. The mystery, the threat the resolution all surprise and delight. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mr. P. F. Cosker
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
A really enjoyable read. The characters were believable, and the story was most unusual and gripping (although the last few pages were slightly disappointing . Read more
Published 19 months ago by elizabeth busch
4.0 out of 5 stars Consistently good
Fances Fyfield is consistently good and a true craftsman. This is up to her normal standard, if not vintage Fyfield.
Published 19 months ago by G Cooke
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read
Very interesting, beguiling, not impossibly difficult to follow since there are enough explanations so you sort of know where you are.
Published 20 months ago by F. E. Main
3.0 out of 5 stars gold digger
Engaging heroine, I wanted to read to the end, not the very most page turney story I have ever read
Published 20 months ago by Ray
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good story.
Really good, fast moving story. I couldn't put it down once I started. Unusual bunch of characters - not your standard baddies and goodies.
Published 20 months ago by Alicia Fox
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