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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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This was the first book I'd read by Frances Fyfield, so I'm grateful to a reviewer who pointed me in the right direction. An intriguing, slightly creepy little tale of a girl who went wild and burned her boats, ran off to London and got in worse trouble. And comes home to the village of Pennyvale, a village by the sea, described as a perfect place, but which seems to me to have shadows over it. You can never see all of it from anywhere. It has secrets - including the life of Jessica's father who dies when she was 14.

Jessica's friend, Sarah - clearly a woman with a Past - comes to Pennyvale at Jessica's prompting, rents a cottage and promptly becomes tangled up in Jessica's story, Jessica's mystery. And she ends up trying to avenge her friend's death. This book has one of the oddest conclusions of any detective story I've read for a long time, and I'll now have to go back and read the earlier ones (it's great to find a series you can hoover up!) before - hopefully - any sequels are published.
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on 18 November 2012
Frances Fyfield shows that you don't need to be an expert on the workings of the police, coroners and mortuaries in order to take a murder mystery from crime to conclusion. How refreshing!
The central character is Sarah and her friend Jessica is the victim; we know that from early on but it is a while before Sarah becomes aware of it. Indeed, although we know Jessica, Jess, has been bumped off it is not until her body is discovered much later that the story moves from simple mystery - where is Jess? - to murder mystery - who did that to Jess?

Fyfield pares her prose down to necessity and refuses to dwell on scenes that have done their bit in adding to the developing story. But we do get a little bit inside Sarah's character, and we do live a little bit of life in the small coastal fishing village where much of the story is set, and we do feel this is a real-life drama rather than an erstwhile screen-writer lobbying for another deal.

At two hundred and forty pages, it is an enjoyable way to spend a winter evening or two.
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on 26 December 2012
I loved the opening pages of this book. However the rest of the story didn't live up to expectations and it wasn't as detailed in both character descriptions and also what was going on in Sarah Fortune's life as earlier books that have Sara as the lead character. Also, it was very easy to guess who the murderer was. I think this must have been Frances Fyfield on a bad day......it seems as if she has lost interest in Sarah and therefore didn't hold the reader's interest. Also, the book was very short.
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on 11 January 2010
Frances Fyfield never disappoints. This is another intriguing mystery with an interesting and entirely believable denoument. It is a story of loyalty, obsession and betrayal. The descriptions of one of the London locations are not for the faint-hearted. Sarah Fortune herself is a fascinating character who understands Jessica better than anyone, especially her... Oops! Mustn't give away the plot. Thank goodness Frances Fyfield writes full length novels. I have them all. They are so much more satisfying than short stories. [[ASIN:1847441092 Cold to the Touch]
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on 24 October 2010
A tense read in Fyfield style. The London end of the scenario creates a vivid picture of Smithfield Market the rural end the life of an enthusiastic butcher.
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VINE VOICEon 29 September 2012
I am always keen to try new authors and so I gave Frances Fyfield a whirl by reading "Cold to the Touch." The book opens quite strongly with intriguing scenes set in Smithfield in the heart of London. The action then moves to a seaside village and the pace of the book drops dramatically. The plot meanders around for a while, with a couple of twists that were relatively obvious to me at least, before the book ends in a reasonably short 240 pages. Even at this length, though, this novel dragged for me. In places the writing is skilled to a degree and I found the meat and butchery motif used throughout reasonably effective, but at times the prose lapses into page after page of showing and not telling, with lots of being told what certain characters think about other characters. There is one contrived section in which three characters end up having a conversation in a particular location, two of whom have arrived there for not particularly good reasons. It all feels rather forced. I think the protagonist, Sarah, is meant to be worldly-wise as well as well irresistible, but she doesn't seem like a real person. Her reaction to a particularly horrific discovery that should affect her personally is absurd. Perhaps she is meant to have an edge of steel but it just did not ring true to me given her other behaviour.

The book's central mystery is not particularly absorbing either in its inception or its resolution and ultimately I did not care what happened, or had happened, to any of the people in the book. Ultimately and unfortunately, reading this was not enjoyable enough even in relation to the relatively short time spent on it.
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on 23 February 2010
...but set in rather a macabre place! A few interesting twists and turns with some odd characters but nothing special or gripping.
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on 7 June 2014
Frances Fyfield is a good thriller writer, and I enjoyed this one as much as her others.
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on 9 December 2012
It certainly was cold to the touch to begin with, slow to start but building up nicely now though, intriguing and may well increase my rating when I have finished it. My advice is persevere with the the first third of the book.
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