From the author of the Falconer Files, a series featuring a pair of amateur sleuths and a delightful outpouring of English upper-class eccentricities - with the odd murder thrown in.
Lady Amanda Golightly of Belchester Towers is a person in complete contrast to the stereotypical image of one of her breeding. She is short, portly, and embarrassingly forthright. If she wasn't calling a spade a shovel, it was only because she was calling it 'trumps'!
On a visit to a local nursing home where an old business partner of her father's is residing, she unexpectedly discovers a long-lost friend, Hugo Cholmondley-Crichton-Crump - and stumbles upon murder as well.
Installing Hugo in the more civilised and comfortable surroundings of Belchester Towers, the pair turn to sleuthing after Lady Amanda reports her appalling discovery to the local police inspector and is incensed when he treats her as a silly old biddy with an over-active imagination. Her outrage prompts her to teach the impertinent young whipper-snapper a lesson, and she and Hugo (Zimmer frame in tow) embark upon their first investigation, only for murder to become a distressingly frequent occurrence ...
About the Author
Andrea Frazer is married with four grown-up children, and lives in the Dordogne with her husband Tony and their six cats. She has wanted to write since she first began to read at the age of five, but has previously been busy raising a family and working as a lecturer in Greek (she has a Fellowship Diploma in Greek) and teaching music. Apart from writing, Andrea continues to teach music, and now also teaches French to expatriates. Her interests include playing several instruments, reading, and choral singing with two choirs.
Read an Excerpt
Belchester was a small cathedral city, about fifteen miles from the south coast; the largest dwelling in its environs Belchester Towers. BelchesterTowers had been built in the early nineteenth century by one Godfrey Golightly, nouveau riche, and out to display his newly found wealth.
That the man had no taste or breeding mattered not a jot to him, and he celebrated his recently acquired title with a heap of a red-brick building, ugly, four-square, with a huge crenellated tower at each corner and a faux moat surrounding the whole–a raspberry to all the other fine houses that had a wealth of history behind them.
Godfrey Golightly would build his own dynasty, and his house would mature into its surroundings over time, of this he had had no doubt.
In the last almost two hundred years, the fortunes of the Golightly family had fluctuated, down to the present day, and last member of the direct line of descent, Lady Amanda, who was now of a certain age–i.e. wouldn’t tell anyone that she had recently become the recipient of a state pension. She lived there with only the company of a general factotum called Beauchamp, and an army of casual cleaners and gardeners, whom the aforementioned Beauchamp summoned at intervals, as and when they were needed, to turn the dwelling back into a decent place in which to live.
Lady Amanda’s parents had been killed in an accident on the London to Brighton Rally some years before, after driving straight into a tree. They had been drunk to the wide due to frequent nips from their hip-flasks of cocktails, and Lady Amanda considered that there could not have been a better way for them to go.
The car behind had said they were laughing their heads off at the time of the accident, after ‘Daddy’, as she always thought of her father, had lost control of the steering. It was considered not to be speed that had been the main cause of their death, because the old car didn’t have it in her to go very fast, more the sheer bad luck that they had both broken their necks and fractured their skulls when they had been thrown from the body of the vehicle, face first, into said venerable and unmovable tree.
Lady Amanda was an aficionado of cocktails; in fact, she had been since she was a teenager, having been brought up with them, one could say, and she hoped that she had a suitably bizarre and fun ending–if death can ever be fun!–to her own life, when the time eventually arrived.
A formidable character, she conducted her life openly and honestly, and would have no truck with slyness, prevarication, untruths, or any hole-in-the-corner, or cloak-and-dagger behaviour. She was hardest of all on bad manners, and would not tolerate them from anyone, no matter what their station in life. Being a blunt woman, however, Lady Amanda called a spade ‘a bloody shovel’ if she didn’t call it ‘trumps’, although she very rarely used coarse language and frowned upon it in others.
Physically, she bore no relationship to the figure that most imagined, having only heard her name. She was not tall and willowy, a waif–a go-lightly, in fact, whom a gust of wind would bowl over. Instead, she was short and squat–what she liked to refer to as portly, where others said she was just fat–with piercing green eyes, and blond curls.
Her hair was her only vanity, but more of that later…
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A perfect cast of characters to set the stage for this series of misadventures. Written with a surprising bit of humor, this book is the perfect read for a rainy afternoon. I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to reading the others.