This work features Fran Varady, who is insolvent, unemployed, nearly homeless, but resolute. When the secret, selfish member of her squat dies, Fran finds herself thinking that all was not as it first seemed.
©1997 Ann Granger (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
The story is trite, utterly predictable and about as enthralling as blancmange. Much the same can be said for the narrator who has very limited phrasing and a relentless unchanging delivery for the whole 8 hours. Maybe the series improves but I doubt it.
The story of an intelligent female squatter getting drawn in to a murder and its investigation is quite original and works well. Although Fran did go to a public school her street life in London since her family fell apart would have roughened her. So it was a bit surprising that the narrator had such a jolly hockey sticks plummy voice. It didn't really detract from the story, but never quite seemed right. The plot was great as were the characterisations.
"Good first book in this series"
This is the first book in a series by Ann Granger, who has also written a couple of others (for example the Mitchell and Markby books, which are a great read). The unusual premise of this book is that Fran Varaday is an out of work, homeless young woman who is drawn into investigating the murder of a roommate in a "squat" (that is, an old boarded up house where several people have moved in for bare survival).
Fran, despite the doubts of her friend Ganesh, is asked to visit the country home where the roommate had run away from, to see if she might be able to detect clues to the roommate's mysterious disappearance from there in the first place, and ultimately her murder.
Not everyone is happy with her doing this, which is what provides the bulk of the story, as she puts herself into dangerous situations to get the information she needs to solve the case. This includes the police, who feel she is contaminating their investigation by her meddling.
It's a good story. I like the Mitchell/Markby series a bit better, but this is very enjoyable, with a not-too-difficult-to-solve murder that readers may figure out on their own (or perhaps not). I do recommend this book, and all of what Ann Granger writes. I felt the narration was good, but not exceptional. Still, good series, worth listening to.
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