This post is brought to you by Dover Publications to celebrate the re-release of Celia Fremlin’s series of mysteries. All opinions are my own.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a good mystery book like Celia Fremlin’s The Jealous One. Back in my teens, I went through an Agatha Christie phase and read every almost every one of her books before moving on to other great mystery writers from the past. I’m kind of surprised that I never heard of Fremlin until Dover reprinted her books. That’s the great thing about Dover, though, everything old is new again and you find some real gems that you never would have known about.
Get to know Celia Fremlin
Celia Fremlin was born in 1914 and lived a long life before passing away in 2009. She wrote 16 novels throughout her life, including War Factory, an up-close and personal look at the life of plant workers at a WWII radar factory. It’s her mystery books, though, that earned her the most awards and acclaim. Her stories center on “domestic” life in England, but don’t let that fool you.
These aren’t cozy mysteries! In fact, they’re more along the lines of Gaslight and other psychological thriller/mysteries of the 60s and 70s mixed with a touch of Jane Austen. I know that sounds like a strange combination, but it really works! Let’s check out my review of The Jealous One, then I’ll tell you a bit more about her other books.
Make sure to also check out my review of The Trouble Makers by Celia Fremlin over on OurFamilyWorld!
The Jealous One Book Review
In The Jealous One, Rosamund and Geoffrey have a pretty decent life. Compared to the characters in The Trouble Makers (which I reviewed over on OurFamilyWorld), it’s downright peachy! In that book, the husbands were all critical and kind of nasty. Here, Geoffrey is a decent guy, and Rosamund is relatively content with her life when the story begins.
Since it’s a domestic mystery, you know that happiness can’t last long. When Lindy, a beautiful and smart woman, moves in next door, Rosamund starts to feel like her husband find Lindy just a little too delightful! See, Lindy is a lot different from the other women in the neighborhood. First, she’s single. Second, she’s outspoken to the point of being controversial! Keep in mind that these books were written during the 1960s, where successful, outspoken single women were to be feared rather than revered.
Geoffrey starts spending too much time with Lindy, to the point that Rosamund suspects he may be having an affair. One night, Rosamund dreams that she murders Lindy, and the next day, Lindy vanishes. This isn’t really a spoiler, as it’s kind of the main mystery of the book. Where did Lindy go? Did Rosamund have anything to do with her disappearance? Why is Rosamund’s memory suddenly so fuzzy? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
The Jealous One is a quick read at just under 200 pages, so it’s the perfect way to pass a rainy weekend. While the other book that I read, The Trouble Makers, had a thicker, more foreboding atmosphere, The Jealous One was still full of intrigue. It’s one of those books where you think you know what’s going on, but you’re still surprised even when you find out you were right.
Like I mentioned above, Fremlin’s mysteries defy the genre. They’re domestic mysteries without being cozy, psychological thrillers without being terrifying, and even manage to mix in a little Sense and Sensibility by giving us an inside look at what life was like for women during the time. In fact, it seems like very little had changed from Austen’s days to Fremlin’s as far as women were concerned! If you’re looking for a new-to-you mystery author, you really can’t go wrong with Fremlin!
Other Dover Mystery Books by Celia Fremlin
1- The Trouble Makers
Poor Mary. Her husband is so stingy and critical that he makes the other neighborhood spouses look princely by comparison. All of the housewives on the block complain about their domineering husbands, their noisy children, and their dreary chores. The women’s only consolation lies in getting together to vent their frustrations and share the latest gossip. But when Mary spies a man in a raincoat, lurking about the neighborhood, she develops a panicky obsession with the stranger that her friends can’t soothe — and the frustrations of everyday life suddenly take a sinister turn. Don’t forget to check out my review of The Trouble Makers on OurFamilyWorld.
2- The Hours Before Dawn
In this Edgar Award–winning thriller, a young housewife with two lively daughters and an endlessly crying baby battles domestic chaos as well as growing suspicions of the household’s new lodger. Are Louise’s fears the product of sleep deprivation, as her unsympathetic husband suggests, or is there really something sinister about the respectable-seeming schoolmistress?
Meg and Isabel were just girls when “Uncle Paul” married their older half-sister, Mildred, and he soon vanished from their lives upon his exposure as a bigamist and a murderer. Fifteen years later, Uncle Paul is about to be released from prison, and all three sisters are seized with dread at the prospect of his return. Their family holiday at the seaside village where Mildred and Uncle Paul once honeymooned becomes the setting for a tense drama of suspicion, betrayal, and revenge.
SAVE 25% OFF DOVER MYSTERIES
All four Celia Fremlin books are currently available on Dover Publications. Use coupon code WLBL to save 25% on these books and more Dover Mysteries and Thriller! Coupon expires April 30, 2018.
Are you a fan of Celia Fremlin? Share your favorite book by her below!