Fatal Inheritance

Written by Rachel Rhys
Review by Douglas Kemp

England in the dull spring of 1948. Eve Forrester is a bored suburban housewife in south London, married to the fastidious and tedious Clifford – a self-styled company director of a struggling small road-haulage business. The old tried, trusted and rather passé plot device of an unexpected inheritance changes affairs completely. Guy Lester, whom Eve had not known at all, had been a wealthy family man living in the south of France and gave her a legacy in his will. She has to travel to Cannes to learn about this mystery bequest and is delighted to escape a domestic boredom and immerse herself in the scintillating sunshine of the French Riviera, where she learns the nature of the bequest and meets the suspicious and surprised members of the Lester family, who are equally in the dark about the reason for this. It is an inheritance which turns Eve’s world upside-down as she determines to find out more about Guy Lester and his connection to her and uncovers a lifetime of secrets and deception.

The story is fully absorbing, if at times rather melodramatic, and the delineation of the Riviera in the first years after the War, the glamour of the brittle lives of the privileged denizens of society, and the legacy of the German occupation are excellently depicted. Characters are entertaining and vibrantly defined, if somewhat cliché-laden, with little subtlety or ambiguity in their definition. Rachel Rhys is a pen name for Tammy Cohen, writer of psychological thrillers.