There are some writers I just *know* I’ll enjoy right off the bat and Rachel Rhys is one of them. One because I’ve always enjoyed the work of her alter-ego, Tamar Cohen and two because I lovedlovedloved her last book, A Dangerous Crossing, a glamorous mystery set aboard a 1930s ship on a long-haul journey.
Fatal Inheritance is no less glamorous, set in the South of France in 1948. It’s heroine, Eva Forrester finds herself staying in a beautiful villa after she becomes the beneficiary of the will of a man she’s never met and never heard of. Escaping from her dull suburban Sutton life and her irritatingly boring husband (as well as an overbearing monster of a mother) and desperate for an escape from dull post-war Britain still in the grasp of rationing and greyness, Eva grabs the opportunity to experience adventure and a new, if temporary, life surrounded by writers, socialites and film stars, acutely aware of the feeling that she doesn’t belong in such a social stratosphere.
There’s also the added stress of the family of the man who left her a share in the gorgeous house; acutely suspicious of who she is and how she became involved in their affairs, Eva must pick her way around family jealousy and hostility- as well as battling someone who definitely wants her out of the way. It’s a lot of work when you’re also trying to work out just why your benefactor chose you- especially when you have your husband demanding you return home and the wedding of the year to attend.
This is a stylish novel that I found absolutely gripping. I mean, who needs sleep, right? It was too hot to sleep well anyway. I loved how Eve navigated a world that she was so unprepared for- I really felt for her, because most of us would probably be exactly the same. I would love to see this as a film adaptation because it is SO perfectly suited to the screen, I can just imagine the gorgeous costumes and settings now. Please can someone make this happen?
This novel is getting a lot of love as a holiday read and I agree that it’s definitely one to keep you hooked from beginning to end. If you like your mysteries elegant and grown up, with a hint of sparkle and a relatable protagonist, this is definitely a book you need to read.