1948: an English housewife trapped in a dull marriage escapes to the South of France to claim a mystery inheritance. But rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge, and now they want her out of the way ...
She didn’t have an enemy in the world…London 1948: Eve Forrester is trapped in a loveless marriage, in a gloomy house, in a grey suburb.
until she inherited a fortune
Out of the blue, she received a solicitor’s letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mystery inheritance but in order to find out more, she must travel to the glittering French Riviera.
Eve discovers her legacy is an enchanting villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea and suddenly, life could not be more glamorous.
But while she rubs shoulders with film-stars and famous writers, under the heat of the golden sun, rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge. Rivals who want her out of the way.
Alone in paradise, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest – before events turn deadly…
Many thanks to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers for my copy of Fatal Inheritance to review and to Sharon for having my review on the blog.
Prepare to be whisked away to the French Riviera in Rachel Rhys'(the pen name of psychological suspense writer Tammy Cohen) new novel Fatal Inheritance. A stunning read which will keep you guessing and have you gripped from beginning to end. This is the second novel from the author after last years brilliant A Dangerous Crossing and this new story is just as good and will have you rapidly turning the pages as you witness the main character Eve Forrester seek to decipher just why she was left an intriguing inheritance by a man she had never heard of until a letter arrives through her door from his solicitor.
This book has all the elements of what some would call a Golden Age mystery. The beautiful setting in which you think nothing untoward could ever happen. The family feeling desperately betrayed following the revelation that their father was not the man they believed him to be. The glamorous Hollywood starlet on a trail of self destruction, the at times drunken American writer attempting to complete his latest novel and those characters who at first seem all sweetness and light and who would do anything to help those in need but are they really? A perfect façade is about to be shattered, long buried secrets in more ways than one are about to come to light and through this process Eve will be taken out of her comfort zone but in doing this will she have stepped into a boiling pot of suspicion and danger never to emerge again?
Housewife Eve leads a dull life married to businessman Clifford. Her existence is one of routine and order where Clifford believes he is providing the best life possible for his wife. Instead Eve longs for a spark that has failed to ignite in her marriage. She is bored and unsatisfied so when an unusual letter arrives through her door requesting that she visit a solicitor her interest is more than piqued. Against Clifford's wishes she arranges a meeting and soon discovers she has to travel to the French Riviera if she desires to know more. Of course Eve views this with some trepidation but there is something within her driving her on, that desire to know more in the hopes something exciting will happen. Eve was very much like a fish out of water as she arrived in France and as she travels on the train to her destination she meets the Colletts, a couple travelling to the place where their son had been killed in action during World War Two only several years ago. I sensed the Colletts would have a pivotal role to play in the story and I was glad their introduction was a necessary one rather than having surplus to requirement characters.
Having led such a sheltered life Eve is amazed to discover that Guy Lester has left her a quarter share in Villa La Perle in Cap D'Antibes. This really does set the cat among the pigeons as his wife Diana and sons Noel and Duncan are not very happy. Who was Guy Lester and what connection does he have to Eve? This forms the basis of the novel but as events take on a more sinister edge it becomes apparent that someone wants rid of Eve. Why? What has she done? Who could it be and what are their motives? Are the family that desperate to sell the villa for funds that they would wish to see Eve gone unable to sign the necessary papers?
What I loved about this book was that the author established so many different strands to the story. Each character be it writer Stanley Sullivan, film starlet Gloria Hayes, art gallery owner Victor Meunier, or the sons Noel and Duncan all had their own storylines. As the layers to the story are peeled back and Eve delves a little deeper she sees that although she is out of her comfort zone that really this glamorous lifestyle with sunshine, drinking and sumptuous parties is all but a front for behind the glitz and allure there is a lot more going on than one would have first have thought. Will the title A Fatal Inheritance come to pass or can Eve unlock the past surrounding the surprising bequest before time runs out and things turn deadly?
I enjoyed how Eve was a normal woman living her life in England and then was taken out of her routine and comfort zone. She should have been totally out of her depth but she had spirit and wasn't going to let a bunch of people push her around and force her into signing papers so she would make a swift exit. Her inquisitive nature shone through and she was determined to find out what connection if any she had to Guy. This wasn't a fast paced read with bodies strewn across every chapter, that's not my kind of thing at all. Instead I felt everything was subtlety slipped in and would eventually lead to a dramatic conclusion when all would be revealed. The author drip feeds the reader tantalising teasers, hints and yes on reflection there were plenty of clues that I should have picked up on. I had vague notions as to two strands of the overall picture but never quite hit the mark with my predictions and that's what a good book packed full of mystery, puzzlement and secrets should contain.
I wouldn't have as enjoyed this book as much as I did if I was to have guessed everything early on. What was clever was to have brief chapters every now and again from Guy's perspective written a few months prior to the main events of the book. This gave an insight into Guy's state of mind and threw up even more questions rather than everything being answered so quickly and neatly. Although Guy had passed away, including said chapters gave his character a strong voice and allowed the reader to attempt to make connections to events in the present and to make sense of the man who meant so much to his family yet they are deeply hurt and let's be honest frustrated that he has left them with this predicament.
The connection between Guy and Eve could have been all to obvious and straightforward but bravo to the author for weaving a tale that didn't venture down such an easy get out route. The connection once revealed could have been viewed as being just that bit far fetched and unbelievable but instead I felt it fitted in perfectly with the overall story and really was quite ingenious. It opened up a whole can of worms for everyone and really Guy from up above was revealing an entirely new side to his character. I thinking he was hoping for redemption and forgiveness but given his early death couldn't have achieved it and in some way he hoped what was revealed in his will could achieve this.
Eve does undergo a transformation. At first I thought she was vulnerable and placing herself in a compromising situation, finding herself way out of her depth but she surprised me how much she acclimatised to the situation and danger that befell her. Maybe she was destined for this kind of life away from the banality of her existence in England but with so many strange and unusual goings on perhaps this new strand to Eve's life would be over before it ever began and before the truth could finally be revealed?
There is a reason Fatal Inheritance has appeared on lots of recommended summer reading lists this year and it's simply because this is the sort of read that will have many readers entertained and gripped as they sit on their sun loungers this summer and even beyond. It's impossible to stop reading once you begin and you are rooting for Eve right from the beginning. You can see the opportunities that await her if only with the help of new found friends she can overcome all the barriers placed in her way.
Rachel Rhys is brilliant at taking you on a journey of suspense and tension packed full of multi-layered characters and plots twists and changes with each turn of the page. It's atmospheric and you are with Eve every step of the way on the slippery slope to deciphering fact from fiction and truth from lies. This book comes highly recommended and whether you are lucky enough to be sitting by a pool on the French Riviera whilst reading it this will only enhance your reading experience. If you are sat in the sunshine in the back garden Rachel Rhys will take you to France for an exhilarating journey that will leave you desperately wanting more from this superb author.
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