Synopses & Reviews
Robert Barnard, one of the great contemporary masters of classic mystery, returns with a brilliant new tale of passion and deception.
Well-known actress Caroline Fawley has given up a successful stage and television career for love and life in the country. International business titan Marius Fleetwood can't marry her. He already has a wife, though he claims they are "just friends." But Marius has done something very special for Caroline: he has "bought" her Alderley, an elegant country home. If he should die, he's arranged to leave her enough money to maintain the extensive house and gardens.
Of course, some inquisitive villagers would be happier if Caroline and Marius were respectably wed. People in small towns know all, and they "will" talk, especially about a glamorous actress. Caroline's adolescent children, Stella and Alexander, seem to accept Marius's weekend visits without distress. And older daughter Olivia, an opera singer on the rise, is too involved in her own career and romantic intrigues to express much interest in her mother's personal life.
Caroline is happy and the world is good. Until one day when Caroline's life begins to fall apart. First, a mysterious young man backpacking his way through the countryside arrives at the door. He says his name is Peter Bagshaw, but Caroline sees instantly that he must be related to Marius; perhaps he's even his son.
What else has Marius hidden from Caroline? Who is this man, Marius Fleetwood? Is everything about him a lie?
When a murder occurs, detectives Mike Oddie and Charlie Peace must probe the lives of numerous suspects who had good reason to kill. As always in a Barnard mystery, the fun is in the details, the characters, the twists. With big houses, wealth, opera, and obsessive devotion as some of his ingredients, Robert Barnard gives us a witty, richly nuanced novel worthy of the crime-writing star that he is.
"Witty and subtle character portrayals, against a substantial background of opera and theater, lift the latest suspense novel from prolific British author Barnard....Ingenious twists to a satisfying plot make for fine entertainment." Publishers Weekly
"Charm and wit, along with the exquisite pacing, complete the Barnard formula for a thoroughly enjoyable read." Brad Hooper, Booklist
"That venerable old tortoise Robert Barnard never seems to worry about how to make it new: He just keeps on truckin' down a well-trod literary path, steadily producing witty, impeccably structured whodunits in their classic form." Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post Book World
"A treat for fans of opera, English country houses, and women of a certain age with the knack for rebounding. If not quite Barnard at his best, close enough." Kirkus Reviews
"People who think of village mysteries as being sweet and simple must never have read one of Robert Barnard's subversive little gems." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
Caroline Fawley has no regrets. The famous television actress has put her acting career behind her and for the first time is entirely happy. She and her two teenagers live comfortably in Alderley, an elegant mansion in the English countryside. Her lover, business tycoon Marius Fleetwood, pays the bills and visits every weekend. So what if he is technically still married and his wife, Sheila, is pregnant with another man's child? If Marius should die, the house, and plenty of money to support it, is left to Caroline in his will. Or is it?
When Pete Bagshaw, a young man who clearly resembles Marius, suddenly appears at Alderley, Caroline's suspicions start to rise. Is Pete simply a result of one of Marius's earlier indiscretions? Soon, Marius is missing and increasingly odd revelations indicate that everything Caroline believes about him is false. Who is this man she loves? What has he done to make him the victim of murder? Caroline is about to embark on a voyage of discovery and the real surprise is yet to come as her fate as the mistress of Alderley unravels.
Thoroughly captivating and irresistibly charming, The Mistress of Alderly is crime writing at the top of its form ingeniously crafted by one of the great contemporary masters of mystery.
Caroline Fawley, former actress, is about to embark on a voyage of discovery and the real surprise is yet to come as her fate as the mistress of the estate of Alderley unravels. Thoroughly captivating and irresistibly charming, this is crime writing at the top of its form ingeniously crafted by one of the great contemporary masters of mystery.
About the Author
Robert Barnard's most recent novel is The Bones in the Attic. His other books include A Murder in Mayfair, The Corpse at the Haworth Tandoori, No Place of Safety, The Bad Samaritan, The Masters of the House, A Scandal in Belgravia, and Out of the Blackout. Winner of the 2003 Cartier Diamond Dagger, Britain's most prestigious mystery accolade, as well as the Nero Wolfe, Anthony, Agatha, and Macavity Awards, the eight-time Edgar nominee is a member of Britain's Detection Club. He lives with his wife, Louise, and with pets Jingle and Durdles in Leeds, England.