MYSTERY

Thursday's Children: A Frieda Klein Mystery

Penguin. Mar. 2016. 352p. ISBN 9780143127215. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780698184749. M
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When the mother of an anorexic teenager asks Frieda Klein for help, the eccentric psychotherapist quickly discovers that an eating disorder is only the outward manifestation of a far more serious crime, one that mirrors an incident in Frieda's own troubled past and compels her to travel from London to her hometown in Suffolk. There, her former classmates, an odd assortment long ago abandoned by her without explanation, are about to gather for a reunion. Before she can get far in her investigation of the teen's apparent suicide that may be murder, Frieda learns that her own mother, from whom she has long been estranged, is dying from a brain tumor. Trying to track down the man responsible for horrible crimes past and present, Frieda must confront not only numerous suspects known more than 20 years earlier but also the current disarray in her own life.
VERDICT The fourth Frieda Klein mystery (after Waiting for Wednesday) starts slowly, gathers interest about midpoint, and then meanders to a tepid close. While astute in their analysis of character, coauthors Nicci Gerrard and Sean French seem to have lost the intensity of the earlier books in this series. Advise potential readers to start with the first book or they may abandon the strange Frieda Klein.

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