Gold Digger, by Frances Fyfield

A teenage girl works as part of a gang and is sent, Oliver style, into a large house to see what she can steal. But she encounters the owner, and is subsequently arrested and sent to prison. Some years later, she returns to the house and marries the aged owner of the same house. Who, it turns out, has a valuable art collection. Which the rest of his family have their eyes on.

I read another Fyfield book some time ago and remember not really liking it, but thought this would be worth a go. It was my first MP3 CD, and the medium worked OK - just load a single CD in the car rather than having loads of separate CDs or MDs to swap.

But I think I had the same problem with this story as I'd had with the previous Fyfield. I'm not sure exactly how to describe it but the atmosphere of the book felt somehow bleak, colourless. It feels like the idea being aimed for is that while the characters in the book are experiencing a fairly strange set of circumstances - robbery, torture, murder, poisoning, whatever - in fact these are fairly trivial issues compared to the existential angst that pervades their lives. Not that this angst is ever explored; you just get the sense that they're none of them as bothered by the events of the story as any normal person would be, and presume it's because they've got bigger issues to worry about.

I'm not sure if it's because of this sense, or because of her descriptions of the environment, but it also felt like the whole story was taking place in the dark. The book opened on a "dark and stormy night" and even though the action spanned many years after that, it always felt gloomy to me.

The story wasn't anything special, apart from being a bit odd (and never really satisfactorily explained - how the 17 year old girl fell in love with the pensioner) and the "twists", such as they were, didn't feel very powerful: partly because you're made to feel that nothing really matters very much anyway.

Won't bother with more Fyfield; would get more MP3 books though!

Completed : 20-May-2013 (audiobook)

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