I’ve always enjoyed reading crime fiction, especially the more benign kind of murder mystery epitomised by Agatha Christie’s books. Old-fashioned though these may be, they are still popular today. I think several elements contribute to their enduring appeal: An intriguing puzzle, with a credible solution that is not too obvious, although it could in theory have been worked out from the clues hidden in the text. An ending that demonstrates the triumph of good over evil, and the restoration of justice. Descriptions of crime and criminal psychology that manage to be both sympathetic and entertaining, and never sordid or sensational. Perhaps the universal fascination with death. I could never aspire to anything near the standard set by Agatha Christie, but her influence may be apparent in Fatal Feverfew, one of the books I wrote about thirty years ago but did not publish until now.
The main action takes place in an isolated healing retreat in England’s west country. Lucia, accompanied by her husband and cat, arrives there to recuperate from a recent illness only to find that she is suspected of poisoning their hostess. Lucia reluctantly takes on the role of detective and, with the help of the local doctor, succeeds in uncovering the true course of events.
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