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Chris High books reviewed

Blood From A Stone - Frances Fyfield

Publisher: Little Brown
ISBN:  978 – 1 – 84744 – 074 – 7
March 6th, 2008

Image: Front cover of the book 'Blood From A Stone'.


Frances Fyfield’s latest novel, Blood From A Stone (Little Brown), is something of a trip on the dark side; a menacing, psychological thriller that is at once both gripping and disturbing, written in a style that makes it as easy to put down as a glass of fine wine.


Marianne Shearer, a dauntingly successful barrister, is at the height of her career, respected by her peers and revered by her clients. So why has she killed herself? Her latest case has again resulted in an acquittal, though the outcome was principally due to the death of the prime witness after Marianne's forceful cross-examination. Had this wholly professional and unemotional lawyer been struck by guilt or uncertainty, or is there some secret to be discovered in her blandly comfortable private life? Her death reveals a paucity of friends, a grasping brother and a tenacious colleague, Peter Friel, who is determined to find out if that last trial held the reason for her taking her own life. The transcript holds intriguing clues, but it is another witness at the trial who holds the key to the truth and she is far from sure that she can reveal her secrets without releasing even more deceit and destruction.

Blood From A Stone is an incredibly intense read, filled with characters that sparkle and dialogue that flips the pages over. Drawing on her own experiences as a successful criminal lawyer, the author has created a world that is a rich tapestry of how crime effects the people surrounding a trial, as well as the immediate victims, brilliantly and so creates a sense of sympathy that is second to none and in particular with the delightful sister of the victimised Angel, Hen, who is so multi-faceted she might well be a diamond.

Indeed, if there is one criticism, it is the fact that the Marianne figure is a little too vociferous and comes across through the related court transcripts as nothing more than a vicious bully who, in reality, would surely be brought to book for her tactics by any self-respecting judge.

This aside, however, Blood From A Stone is genuinely terrific read and can take its place proudly in what is already an impressive catalogue of Frances Fyfield’s work.



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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