M C Beaton
Robinson (Constable and
23 June 2011/ ISBN 1849016089
Mystery / Contemporary / England
by Rachel A Hyde
Fellworth Dolphin has lived a miserable existence with his cold,
old-fashioned parents. Now in his forties, he has worked as a waiter
in a local hotel since the death of his father. One day he comes
home to find that his old mother is also dead, and he has surprisingly
inherited quite a lot of money. He had always thought that his parents
were very poor, and he gave up his chance to go to university after
his father had a heart attack and had to stop working. Then he starts
to discover that there is a lot about his parents that he did not
know, and could never have guessed. For example, was his father
really part of a famous train robbery?
This is a stand-alone novel dating from 2001 that has not previously
been available in the UK. Fans of Ms. Beaton’s books –
like this reviewer – will be thrilled that at long last this
elusive book can be bought, but how does it compare with the rest
of her work?
Fell lacks the appeal of her series sleuths due to his awful upbringing,
but this alone is not enough to make him a sympathetic character.
By his side is faithful “plain Jane” Maggie Partlett
from his hotel days, another loner who needs somebody to love and
to love her. This book is as much a romance as a mystery, and bridges
the gap between her M C Beaton mysteries and her Marion Chesney
romances like nothing else seems to, which makes it interesting
for fans. Watching the two take control of their lives and begin
to enjoy themselves is enjoyable, as is the tangled trail of clues
that leads to solving the mystery surrounding the money and Fell’s
father. This is very much a complete novel, a rarity from a series
novelist and although it lacks the charm and humor of her other
work it is still worth reading.