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A Disappointing Sequel
on 18 January 2014
Just over a year ago I bought Gold Digger as a result of a review. I liked it so much I gave to everyone as a Christmas present, and read some ten more of Frances Fyfield's books. Some turned out to be among the best thrillers that I have read, particularly The Nature of the Beast, The Playroom and The Art of Drowning. There are some irritations, particularly the style: sentences little bursts, never a verb unless absolutely necessary. There was also Shadows on the Mirror, a Sarah Fortune book, marred by the fact that the author seemed to find her main character much more fascinating than she made her for me, anyway - though maybe it would be different for a woman.
The events of Casting the First Stone follow those of Gold Digger. Unfortunately the book has all the problems of Shadows on the Mirror. Not a lot happens; most of the book taking place inside the heads of the various characters, who all apparently think in harrumphing short sentences without verbs and who are not nearly as interesting as we are expected to find them. Indeed, you often find yourself thinking, now which one is this, a problem for which the word-search function in Kindle is tailor-made. It has all the features of a book where the author has fallen in love with her creations, which is always a bad development.
And at the end we are promised a third instalment.
At her best Frances Fyfield is a writer who can make you feel totally disorientated; she can be very strange and very frightening. She has a capacity, shown in Gold Digger, for baddies who have absolutely no redeeming features at all and who yet work in a book full of real complex people. So I hope very much that she will not follow the path sketched out in this book, and leave her larky cast, Quig, Jones and the rest, to harrumph away by themselves. Enough is enough.
I don't recommend reading this book. Even if you are tempted to read it you should read Gold Digger first or it won't make much sense - but as I say you will be disappointed if you do. There are many others far better.