The Trouble Makers

The Trouble Makers - Celia Fremlin This works as a thriller. I was kept guessing until just a few pages from the end what was really going on, whose version of the truth was the correct one. It’s very similar to [b:A Hank of Hair: An Exquisite Danse Macabre|628118|A Hank of Hair An Exquisite Danse Macabre|Charlotte Jay||614458] by Charlotte Jay, where the character is increasingly convinced that something bad is going to happen, that in the end it has to happen. However, I wondered for about the second half of the book, and am still wondering, if Auntie Pen didn’t stage manage the whole thing. Mary is obviously not exactly reliable, but she says that Auntie Pen was extremely critical when Mary and Alan decided to adopt Angela, but Auntie Pen likes Angela now and arranges for her to come stay at her house for a while. Now it seems likely that Auntie Pen will probably get to keep Angela forever. It seems just possible that she has been playing Mary and Alan off of each other for years, pretending to be sympathetic to both of them, due to her own hidden motives.

I really didn’t like the character of Stella, who is very similar to Mrs. Hooper in [b:The Hours Before Dawn|249870|The Hours Before Dawn (Paperback)|Celia Fremlin||242118]. They both talk about nothing but psychological theories and how their child-rearing methods are the best ones. This gets old pretty quickly, and I’m glad Fremlin has used this type of character in only two of the five novels of hers I’ve read so far. I can’t imagine tolerating, let alone willing to be friends with, this type of woman in real life.

I really like Fremlin’s style. Her novels deserve to still be widely read and appreciated. These books are not just typical whodunit murder mysteries, but they all rely heavily on psychology and perception, and an ever elusive truth, where the heroine has to not only figure out the crime and the criminal, but whether she can even trust her own senses in the process.