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A Clear Conscience Hardcover – March 14, 1995


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tensions between the ideal and the actual drive Fyfield's thought-provoking, somewhat downbeat tale. Crown Prosecutor Helen West, last seen in Shadow Play (1993), is frustrated at work by battered women who won't testify against their abusers and at home by general untidiness. To tackle the latter, she hires Cath, a somewhat crude but diligent cleaning lady. When Helen glimpses bruises on Cath, she realizes that Cath's husband, a bartender named Joe, is just the sort of fellow she'd like to see hauled into court. At the same time, Helen's lover, Police Superintendent Geoffrey Bailey, is troubled by a case he thinks was prematurely closed: the pub-fight murder of Damien Flood, who was Cath's beloved brother. From a different angle than Helen's, Bailey's eye also focuses on Cath's husband. Then another murder changes the picture. Defying simple judgments and complacent assessments, the plot features a twist at the close that will leave readers mulling over all that has gone before?and Fyfield's message.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Francis Fyfield, a lawyer herself, adds an extra dimension to detection. -- P. D. James

Fyfield is a wonder...An intricate and surprise-filled plot. -- Los Angeles Times Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books (March 14, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679426663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679426660
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,231,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
I have listended to Rula Lenska read several other of Fyfield's always top-notch mysteries and am always completely enthralled by her narrative qualities. Her throaty voice and various accents make the novel come alive. Thoroughly enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By gpangel on November 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A Clear Conscience by Frances Fyfield is a Witness Impulse publication, an imprint of HarperCollins. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Helen West works domestic violence cases. When Helen feels she needs help keeping her house up while she does some redecorating, she calls Emily, Helen's good friend, and inquires after her cleaning lady, Cath.
Meanwhile, a murder has occurred and Bailey, Helen's boyfriend,is assigned the case. As it happens the victim was Cath's brother, Damien.

Cath was pleased to help Helen for some extra money. The two women bonded a little and then it became clear that Cath was also a victim. Her husband, Joe regularly abuses her.

Bailey gets caught in a difficult situation when he must keep certain facts about the murder from Helen.
A series of odd happenings involving Emily's daughter, Jane, has people thinking that perhaps Joe knows more about Damien's death than originally thought.

This book was originally published in 1995 and has now been released in e book format.
I love British mysteries and this one was very dark and thought provoking. Domestic violence is examined at length on more than one level. The effects this type of abuse has on the victim, the lengths one must go to escape, the selfish motives of other people, the inside thoughts of Joe, who felt he had done so much for Cath and that she owed him,(???), and the eyes and ears of children all played a role in the story.
There were a few twist in the plot, but it was really a crime story and psychological thriller.
The relationship between Helen and Bailey was also a bit unorthodox.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PattyLouise VINE VOICE on November 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A Clear Conscience
by
Frances Fyfield

My "in a nutshell" summary...

Attorneys and police become enmeshed in a spousal abuse drama that is also connected to a murder. There are lots of entwined entangled relationships. Everyone involved has a connection to someone else involved.

My thoughts after reading this book...

Cath is a cleaning lady...not really educated...and in a violently abusive relationship with her husband Joe. Joe is a bartender and a drinker and absolutely horrible to Cath when he is drinking. He also has a weird obsession with buying stuff...almost like a Home Shopping addiction. They literally live in a slum but their attic is filled with stuff that Joe buys but they never use. Cath is also reeling from the death of her brother...this is sort of an unsolved murder. Once the police begin really digging into this vile murder...Cath and Joe's lives start to unravel.

The relationships in this novel are amazing and complicated. Cath begins cleaning for an attorney who prosecutes domestic violence crimes...this would be Helen. Helen is dating the detective who is trying to determine who killed Cath's brother. Helen has a relationship with Emily...Cath cleans for Emily and Emily's husband is also involved in the case...again...the relationships are sort of enticingly revealed and they are amazing.

What I loved about this book...

I loved it all...it's fascinating, complex and quite addictively disturbing. It's becomes more and more intense as each little secret about Cath and Joe is revealed. The violence is frightening. What Cath endures is sad and heartbreaking. The way she is described is so achingly sad...Emily says she chews with her mouth open...
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Format: Kindle Edition
Synopsis: Busy Crown Prosecutor, Helen West, can't handle her own apartment cleaning, but can't live with the filth anymore. Hiring a housekeeper should be simple, right? Not so much when the housekeeper appears to be a victim of domestic violence and her brother shows up dead.

My rating: 2.5/5 Stars

My opinion: Helen West is the newest star of Masterpiece Mysteries. When I saw these books on Edelweiss, I wanted to check them out. After all, this is how I found Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley and Colin Dexter's Inspectors Morse and Lewis. Helen West failed to get my fire started. It wasn't that the writing was horrible. It was simply that it was drier than what I was expecting. I was hoping for a new series, but was left horribly disappointed. I found the characters to be more bland than what I am used to in British mysteries. What resulted was a story that failed to pull me in and took me a very long time to read a book that I should have finished in less than 2 hours.

I must admit that this was a series that I read out of order purposely. There are series books that I choose to read as "stand alones" to see how character driven a series is. There was a lot of history to the main character, which can affect one's understanding of current happenings in a storyline. That was evident in this book.

By the way, I wasn't a fan of the series on Masterpiece Mystery and removed them from my DVR, if this means anything.

Source: Witness Impulse for review

Would I recommend? : I would, but read it from the beginning. The books are fairly short.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: #5 in series
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