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Frances Fyfield

Author of Perfectly Pure and Good

45+ Works 2,639 Members 52 Reviews 3 Favorited

About the Author

Frances Fyfield is a pseudonym of Frances Hegarty, born and raised in Derbyshire on November 18, 1948. After reading English at Newcastle University, she did various odd jobs before enrolling in a law course in the Midlands. But it didn't interest her enough to continue and she moved to London show more where she was a shop assistant at Fenwicks and theatre dresser at the Coliseum. Fyfield eventually did finish her law qualifications and got a job as a solicitor to work with the Metropolitan Police. She has worked as prosecutor for both the Metropolitan Police as well as the Crime Prosecution Service. Fyfield is the author of more than seven suspense novels, including Shadow Play and Without Consent. Her novel, A Question of Guilt, was nominated for an Edgar Award and filmed for the BBC. She has won several awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Duncan Lawrie Dagger for Blood From Stone in 2008 and the Silver Dagger for Deep Sleep. In addition, her novel, Safer than Houses was nominated for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger in 2006. She also writes psychological thrillers under the name of Frances Hegarty, among them, The Playroom, Half Light and Let's Dance (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

Frances Fyfield is a pen name of Frances Hegarty.

Series

Works by Frances Fyfield

Perfectly Pure and Good (1994) 240 copies
Undercurrents (2000) 193 copies
A Question of Guilt (1988) 177 copies
Shadow Play (1993) 176 copies
Not That Kind of Place (1990) 173 copies
Blind Date (1998) 173 copies
Shadows on the Mirror (1989) 170 copies
Deep Sleep (1991) 153 copies
A Clear Conscience (1994) 151 copies
Without Consent (1996) 126 copies
Staring at the Light (1999) 123 copies
The Nature of the Beast (2001) 122 copies
Seeking Sanctuary (2003) 98 copies
Blood from Stone (2008) 93 copies
The Playroom (1991) 80 copies

Associated Works

Women on the Case (1996) — Contributor — 208 copies
A Century of British Mystery and Suspense (2000) — Contributor — 57 copies
3rd Culprit: An Annual of Crime Stories (1994) — Contributor — 41 copies

Tagged

Common Knowledge

Legal name
Hegarty, Frances
Birthdate
1948-11-18
Gender
female
Nationality
UK
Education
Newcastle University, England
Occupations
lawyer
Organizations
Metropolitan Police Service
Crown Prosecution Service (UK)
Disambiguation notice
Frances Fyfield is a pen name of Frances Hegarty.

Members

Reviews

This is another enthralling tale from a writer who never fails to produce a thoroughly readable book. This one centres on a plot of revenge by a former wife who regards her ex-husband as having betrayed her and also having caused the death of their daughter and now turned their son against her. Ivy’s plan to gain revenge ensnares a naive Rachel in its plot and she becomes an unwitting accomplice in gaining the trust of the ex-husband, Carl. But at the same time, Rachel develops an attraction to Carl, but is ambivalent about this in view of Ivy’s description of her past. Ivy’s plan seems to have predicted all the reactions of the people she ensnares and this leads to a gripping and tense finale as it starts to unravel and then continues to an unpredictable aftermath.… (more)
 
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camharlow2 | 1 other review | Apr 9, 2022 |
A satisfying, morally ambiguous twist on the familiar old serial killer theme, which manages to go the full nine tailors whilst still feeding us enough red herrings to get the fishing fleet safely through Brexit. And manages to turn South Devon into nightmare country...

As ever, I found it a bit hard to warm to Fyfield's characters, but the plotting is clever and keeps you guessing, mostly without the use of any obvious bamboozling devices.
 
Flagged
thorold | Jun 16, 2021 |
‘But surely you know in that situation that you don’t have control’. We were talking about abusive relationships this morning and Anna didn’t get it. But Anna, my dear. The whole point of abusive relationships is that the abuser leaves you with this sense, just this sense that you do have some control. That if you do this, or don’t do that, or keep your desk neat, or cook this not that, then everything will be okay. They are nice to you sometimes, of course. Same thing. They need you to see that nice is possible, see what things are like if you do the right thing? Then I’m nice. They need to leave you with a modicum of self-respect because if you do hit absolute rock bottom, actually they have nothing with which to control you any more.

It’s on my mind to get this down now that I’ve spent a couple of hours talking about it, so I tell you a bit of my story because you can only sound half-convincing if you have ‘I’s in it.

Mid nineties. I’ve been living with the person in question for about nine years and I read this book, this one here, The Playroom. Probably Manny and Jordan would call it trash? I haven’t come to understand that term properly yet, but at any rate, it changed my life. All of a sudden I read a sentence that made my heart that very second drop out of my body through the chair, the floor, the earth and plummet right to the bottom side of the world somewhere. Oh. I’m in a straightforward abusive relationship.

Now, I would say I’m not completely dumb. Well, sort of dumb. I can’t imagine passing an IQ test. I’ve flunked shapes in holes since kindergarten, with the possible exception of sex. I say possible because it continues to startle me. ‘We’re going to put that in this?’ ‘You’re telling me this fits there?!!!’ As an act of faith, of course, faith in the practically infinite number of people who have done these things thus permitting the conclusion that the shapes do apparently fit in the holes I go along with it, but there is always a sense of surprise nonetheless. After sex I always feel a bit like going back to kindergarten and trying that thing they make you do with the cutout holes and the pieces you fit in the holes. I have an idea maybe I could do that after all. The feeling passes quickly enough.

So, dumb, certainly. The fact is I’d lived in this relationship for nine years and for about eight and a half of them I’d observed to myself that this was like an abusive relationshop. ‘Like’. Always ‘like’. Not for one second did it occur to me to take out that word. One might say I had particular reasons for being this dense. He was an alcoholic and that served as cover. Then when, most terribly, he gave up alcohol altogether I had what seemed a really rational idea that I was bearing the brunt of his difficult transition to relating with people sober and that things would change. There was always a reason to leave ‘like’ there. I’m sure there are always reasons for other people too. She’s (he’s) just jealous, just needs things to be neat, just this, just that. He’s (she’s) nice, really. And can’t you see things are better than they used to be? Look. As long as I do this then...or if I don't talk...or if I don't look....or when...then as long as...everything is okay. Really. Then everything is okay.

But then I read this book, read this sentence, read on and it might just as well have been my own life I was reading. I was so shocked that I hid the book after I’d read it. I guess he sensed that, sought out the book and read it. ‘That’s just like us,’ he said. With a sense of relief, it seemed obvious to me that if that was the case, that we both knew what things were like and we weren’t idiots that things would change, but they didn’t. Not one bit.

Attempt number one to get away was a dismal failure. When I went back I thought I’d die. But in fact I got a better plan together and attempt number two worked a treat.

What you understand, though, as a complete revelation if you are lucky, is that you have no control. You only thought you did. Once you realise that, then you can escape. I didn’t have anybody I was talking to, nobody pointed out the terribly obvious to me, but even if they had, I’m sure it wouldn’t have helped. You could have any number of people who love you telling you you are trapped in an abusive relationship, it really won’t help. It will come to you as your own revelation or it won’t. Those who watch you lovingly from a distance and see, can only hope for the best. That is my experience. But, then, I’m not good at accepting help. A more sensible person might – and did…

Later on after I’d escaped that person, he moved to the UK and an awfully bright but fucked up girl fell in love with him. I wanted to warn her off, but what’s the point of that? Like she was going to listen to me! But five years or so later, I knew she’d tried to get away now and then and failed. I decided to contact her like this. I wrote her an email describing in intimate detail her days, her life, conversations she had every day and ways she had of relating to the person she was trying to escape. I told her I could explain to her what she had to do to get away if she wanted. She wrote back a couple of days later, she said after she’d stopped crying and yes, she did want to know.

In one brutal email, this girl had discovered that she had no control over her life whatsoever. She had so little control that a stranger on the other side of the world who had never met her, knew everything about her life simply because I knew her life would be exactly like mine.

In a strange way we’d both realised what our situations were by reading about them. It took me two tries and a couple of years to get away. This girl was a good listener. She took everything I said to heart, did exactly what I said and got clean away before her partner could blink. It was clean, she never went back.

Admitting you do not have control over your life is a really painful thing to do. Understanding that even if you love a person and even if you think they love you, it doesn’t mean he/she isn’t an abuser, is very hard to come to terms with. I have no doubt that abusers love their victims and their victims love them. Still. Although there is good reason for the abuser to want the keep the relationship, the same does not pertain to the victim. They have nothing to gain whatsoever. They only think they do.

A bit later, I remember this. As you do take back your life and leave, he/she suggests they will kill you. Or, even harder from your point of view, kill themself. Again and again you are told you won't survive...and when that doesn't work, that she/he won't survive. You are made to feel weak and incapable on your own, or - desperation - that they are. One or other of you won't be able to function as a human being without the other. So you are made to feel.

When I left the first time, friends said to me, but how will he survive without you? When I went back I thought that's what want they all want, for me to die there. But, of course, they didn't know. Point is abusers are perfectly able to look weak if that is a useful thing to do. Second time around I just steeled myself. Ignored all those cries of sympathy for this person I was escaping. The friends all stayed true. You don't lose friends, you only fear that you will.
… (more)
 
Flagged
bringbackbooks | 4 other reviews | Jun 16, 2020 |
‘But surely you know in that situation that you don’t have control’. We were talking about abusive relationships this morning and Anna didn’t get it. But Anna, my dear. The whole point of abusive relationships is that the abuser leaves you with this sense, just this sense that you do have some control. That if you do this, or don’t do that, or keep your desk neat, or cook this not that, then everything will be okay. They are nice to you sometimes, of course. Same thing. They need you to see that nice is possible, see what things are like if you do the right thing? Then I’m nice. They need to leave you with a modicum of self-respect because if you do hit absolute rock bottom, actually they have nothing with which to control you any more.

It’s on my mind to get this down now that I’ve spent a couple of hours talking about it, so I tell you a bit of my story because you can only sound half-convincing if you have ‘I’s in it.

Mid nineties. I’ve been living with the person in question for about nine years and I read this book, this one here, The Playroom. Probably Manny and Jordan would call it trash? I haven’t come to understand that term properly yet, but at any rate, it changed my life. All of a sudden I read a sentence that made my heart that very second drop out of my body through the chair, the floor, the earth and plummet right to the bottom side of the world somewhere. Oh. I’m in a straightforward abusive relationship.

Now, I would say I’m not completely dumb. Well, sort of dumb. I can’t imagine passing an IQ test. I’ve flunked shapes in holes since kindergarten, with the possible exception of sex. I say possible because it continues to startle me. ‘We’re going to put that in this?’ ‘You’re telling me this fits there?!!!’ As an act of faith, of course, faith in the practically infinite number of people who have done these things thus permitting the conclusion that the shapes do apparently fit in the holes I go along with it, but there is always a sense of surprise nonetheless. After sex I always feel a bit like going back to kindergarten and trying that thing they make you do with the cutout holes and the pieces you fit in the holes. I have an idea maybe I could do that after all. The feeling passes quickly enough.

So, dumb, certainly. The fact is I’d lived in this relationship for nine years and for about eight and a half of them I’d observed to myself that this was like an abusive relationshop. ‘Like’. Always ‘like’. Not for one second did it occur to me to take out that word. One might say I had particular reasons for being this dense. He was an alcoholic and that served as cover. Then when, most terribly, he gave up alcohol altogether I had what seemed a really rational idea that I was bearing the brunt of his difficult transition to relating with people sober and that things would change. There was always a reason to leave ‘like’ there. I’m sure there are always reasons for other people too. She’s (he’s) just jealous, just needs things to be neat, just this, just that. He’s (she’s) nice, really. And can’t you see things are better than they used to be? Look. As long as I do this then...or if I don't talk...or if I don't look....or when...then as long as...everything is okay. Really. Then everything is okay.

But then I read this book, read this sentence, read on and it might just as well have been my own life I was reading. I was so shocked that I hid the book after I’d read it. I guess he sensed that, sought out the book and read it. ‘That’s just like us,’ he said. With a sense of relief, it seemed obvious to me that if that was the case, that we both knew what things were like and we weren’t idiots that things would change, but they didn’t. Not one bit.

Attempt number one to get away was a dismal failure. When I went back I thought I’d die. But in fact I got a better plan together and attempt number two worked a treat.

What you understand, though, as a complete revelation if you are lucky, is that you have no control. You only thought you did. Once you realise that, then you can escape. I didn’t have anybody I was talking to, nobody pointed out the terribly obvious to me, but even if they had, I’m sure it wouldn’t have helped. You could have any number of people who love you telling you you are trapped in an abusive relationship, it really won’t help. It will come to you as your own revelation or it won’t. Those who watch you lovingly from a distance and see, can only hope for the best. That is my experience. But, then, I’m not good at accepting help. A more sensible person might – and did…

Later on after I’d escaped that person, he moved to the UK and an awfully bright but fucked up girl fell in love with him. I wanted to warn her off, but what’s the point of that? Like she was going to listen to me! But five years or so later, I knew she’d tried to get away now and then and failed. I decided to contact her like this. I wrote her an email describing in intimate detail her days, her life, conversations she had every day and ways she had of relating to the person she was trying to escape. I told her I could explain to her what she had to do to get away if she wanted. She wrote back a couple of days later, she said after she’d stopped crying and yes, she did want to know.

In one brutal email, this girl had discovered that she had no control over her life whatsoever. She had so little control that a stranger on the other side of the world who had never met her, knew everything about her life simply because I knew her life would be exactly like mine.

In a strange way we’d both realised what our situations were by reading about them. It took me two tries and a couple of years to get away. This girl was a good listener. She took everything I said to heart, did exactly what I said and got clean away before her partner could blink. It was clean, she never went back.

Admitting you do not have control over your life is a really painful thing to do. Understanding that even if you love a person and even if you think they love you, it doesn’t mean he/she isn’t an abuser, is very hard to come to terms with. I have no doubt that abusers love their victims and their victims love them. Still. Although there is good reason for the abuser to want the keep the relationship, the same does not pertain to the victim. They have nothing to gain whatsoever. They only think they do.

A bit later, I remember this. As you do take back your life and leave, he/she suggests they will kill you. Or, even harder from your point of view, kill themself. Again and again you are told you won't survive...and when that doesn't work, that she/he won't survive. You are made to feel weak and incapable on your own, or - desperation - that they are. One or other of you won't be able to function as a human being without the other. So you are made to feel.

When I left the first time, friends said to me, but how will he survive without you? When I went back I thought that's what want they all want, for me to die there. But, of course, they didn't know. Point is abusers are perfectly able to look weak if that is a useful thing to do. Second time around I just steeled myself. Ignored all those cries of sympathy for this person I was escaping. The friends all stayed true. You don't lose friends, you only fear that you will.
… (more)
 
Flagged
bringbackbooks | 4 other reviews | Jun 16, 2020 |

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Works
45
Also by
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Members
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Popularity
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Rating
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Reviews
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ISBNs
443
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