Cover Image: The Murders at Fleat House

The Murders at Fleat House

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Member Reviews

"Look to the past for wisdom and the future for hope"

I absolutely adore Lucinda Riley's historical fiction novels, and was extremely excited to find out that she wrote a murder mystery/crime thriller which was to be published posthumously. As such, I jumped on a chance to read The Murders at Fleat House. The story start with the death of one of the pupils of Fleat House, a boarding school in North Norfolk. Charlie appears to have died of natural causes, but soon that turns out to be false. DI Jazz Hunter (who'd been away from the force for a while to deal with issues in her personal life), starts to unravel the happenings at Fleat House. When another pupil, young Rory Millar, goes missing, and one of the Latin teachers commits suicide, things quickly spiral, leaving Jazz and her team to figure out who the key suspects are, and what an age old suicide case and odd will have to with the current happenings at the school. 

I wasn't sure what to expect from a thriller written by Riley, but I was sure it was going to be an atmospheric read and it was. The setting and the characterization of all the individuals in the story was as strong as I have seen it in any of the authors other books. Similarly, the plot was intricately woven. Small details helping us to slowly figure out how everything fits together. If you allow yourself to be taken along for the ride, this story will not disappoint at all. In fact, this piece has all the makings of the wonderful beginning of a strong series. I am bummed that will not happen, as I enjoyed not only being there to solve the murders at Fleat House, but learning more about DI Jazz Turner and those surrounding her.
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Lucinda Riley is one of my favorite authors. Thus, I was glad that Mrs. Riley was experimenting with the mystery genre. However, I found her multi-generational sagas to be more well-written. The characters were not really engaging. The plot was simple and predictable. Nevertheless, the author does manage to draw the reader in through its luscious setting. Thus, this book is a must-read for any Lucinda Riley fan as they wait for the final book in The Seven Sisters series. Lucinda Riley is truly a treasure, and she will be greatly missed.
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I have read many many of Lucinda’s Riley’s books over the years and was excited to be given the opportunity to read this early work of hers.  Although this is different from her usual stories, it was still engaging. 3 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
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I have absolutely loved and enjoyed the majority of Lucinda Riley’s books but I could not get into this one so I sadly gave up.
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Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book for an honest review.

Enjoyable read but a bit long.  Liked the main characters (except Patrick!).
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I am a fool for not reading anything by Lucinda Riley until this book. So thankful her family helped send this book out into the world after her sad passing.

Thanks to this fast paced mystery, I will be looking into her back catalogue full of historical fiction, which I love.
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This year, Lucinda Riley is the second author I have had a chance to read after she has already passed away (the first being Anne Rice). I had heard about her Seven Sisters series but never got an opportunity to read them; I will definitely try to read them now.

Before the start of the book, we have a foreword by Lucinda's son Harry Whittaker in which he says that The Murders At Fleat House was originally written by the author in 2006 but she never got a chance to revisit and revise it before her death and later her family decided to publish the book as it was originally written. 

This is her sole crime novel and after reading it, I can understand why her previous books are so acclaimed. It is a moderately paced murder mystery and what I really liked was how DI Jazz Hunter goes the traditional way of solving the mystery/ crime and only uses modern technology when needed. The author manages to capture the mood of the mystery and secrets lurking underneath in her setting and descriptions of the town of Norfolk, St. Stephen's School and the Fleat House. Every character that is introduced has a role to play in the murder mystery that has its origins firmly steeped in the past. 

It is quite sad that this will most likely be the only book where we get to meet DI Jazz Hunter; I liked how her character was written and her no nonsense, methodical manner of connecting the dots to solve the crime. 

I received an e-Arc of the book from the publisher Author Buzz via NetGalley. Also, at the same time I was lucky enough to come across the audio version of the book as well. The narration by Gemma Whelan was soothing, engaging and suited the pace of the book.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
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I love Lucinda Riley books and I was heartbroken when I read of her passing.  This is one of her earlier books that her family has released for publication.  It is a murder mystery set in an older boarding school that has seen better days. Jazz Hunter is retired from police work but due to the sensitive nature of a student's murder she agrees to investigate.  When a 2nd boy is killed it becomes a little more intense.  This is a change of pace for Ms. Riley and I'm sorry there won't be any additional crime stories.  She created a good mystery with lots of characters and plausible killers.  Enjoy this treat.
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Thank you to NetGalley, the publishing house and the author for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion.

This was the only police procedural written by this author before her death; thank you to her family for releasing it for her fans to read. I have enjoyed every book I have read that Ms Riley has written. This was a great book full of details and wonderful characters. So different from her usual books but still with her attention to the descriptions and details that transport you to the place of her books.

Definitely worth reading.
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I first discovered Lucinda Riley with the Seven Sisters series in the women’s fiction genre, a world away from this mystery novel she wrote several years ago. It was published posthumously and didn’t undergo the regular editing process since she was no longer here to ensure it was fitting her vision. But overall, I thought the writing style was reminiscent of her more romantic pieces in the sense that it’s sleek and fluid. The scenes are action-oriented and very vivid and you can easily picture the plot unfold before your eyes. But I wasn’t really riveted by the story.
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This is one of those rare books published for the first time despite having been written long ago. The only others like this that I have had the opportunity to come across were old classic mysteries. 
I have read a few of the author's works and was quite surprised to see one so different in her catalogue. The plot introduced had so many varying avenues of approach that it was quite challenging to pinpoint the exact suspicions that each plotline took.
We have a boarding house with everything that that entails. Our initial focus is on the remorseless bully who is planning an indolent life which he does not know will not come to pass. He is the victim who starts the investigation. Although not a victim in the truest sense, the law still has to investigate. A police officer who forced herself into retirement is talked into following up on this investigation. 
What follows in a proper police procedural. There are enquiries made, leads followed, and secrets uncovered. The final whys were partially surprising. The red herrings were liberally placed throughout the story, leading me to change my guess every once in a while.
The roughness of the text does indicate that this book predates those of the seven sisters, but even with that fact, it ended up surprising me.
I would not recommend this solely on liking this genre or the author, but if the combination of the two does sound appealing.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.
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I have long been a fan of Lucinda Riley!  How very exciting to have a new release by her in spite of her untimely death.

I enjoyed this latest book of Lucinda Riley and am saddened that it is the beginning and end of what could have been a lovely series.  This story is fast paced with many twists and turns.  There are just enough clues to have you thinking one way and then another.

Great story! I wish there were more!

Thank you to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for the opportunity to read and review this book!
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I have been a big fan of Lucinda Riley for many years. Unfortunately, I enjoyed her previous books more than this one. I didn’t like the departure from her usual sagas.
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I have really enjoyed reading books by Lucinda Riley - she is one of my favourite authors and it was sad to hear of her passing on.
Thanks to Net Galley for this free read.
I really enjoyed this book and think that a series could have followed after this. I liked the descriptions of the characters and the surroundings. The reader is taken on a journey of two stories - that of 'the death of a student' as well as of the 'police officer' who is in charge of the operation investigating it.
I found at the end that I was wondering what the next investigation might be and sad that there probably won't be.
Thanks again to Net Galley for another great read.
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Small-town, British, closed-room type, mystery..
The novel commences with the sudden death of Charlie Cavendish, a senior teenage student in Fleat House at St Stephens boarding high school in Norfolk, England. Protagonist, Detective Inspector Jazmine ‘Jazz’ Hunter, has taken a seven-month break from the police force, for personal reasons, going to Italy to paint. Her policeman husband in her London office had betrayed her by his liaison with another police officer. Her erstwhile boss lures Jazz to Norfolk, away from London's bad memories, to investigate a supposed accidental death.

Charlie, an epileptic and known bully, had an allergy to aspirin, which it was thought led to anaphylactic shock. When Jazz attends the site of the death, Charlie's room, the cleaners have thoroughly removed all trace of any evidence. However, Jazz smells a crime. Assisted by her 2IC, Sergeant Alastair Miles, and the forensic lead, Jazz embarks on an involved criminal investigation that uncovers decades-old secrets. Unfortunately, deep into her police investigation, her boss brings her meddlesome ex into the case, causing Jazz to grapple with the boss to allow her to complete her investigation.

St Stephens' teachers operate a boys club that keeps its secrets close. The St Stephens principal and staff close ranks when a respected Classics teacher is found dead, perhaps from suicide, in his staff housing onsite, and junior student, Rory Millar, disappears. However, the students and teachers admit Charlie was a bully. The book is a 'closed-room' type mystery. Nearly everyone Jazz meets at the school had a motive and proximity to switch Charlie's epilepsy medication with aspirin. Even the small village's inhabitants held opinions about Charlie, other students, and teachers, both past and present.

In the wintry weather, Jazz searches into leads and faces her own personal problems. The reader is surprised when, fairly early in the piece, an unlikely person confesses to killing Charlie. 

As the author's son, Harry Whittaker, writes in the foreword, this was an early draft of Lucinda Riley's manuscript. There are grammatical and continuity errors, like people laughing rather than saying words, which a good edit would have corrected. Some of the more mundane aspects, such as the headmaster's wish to sink into his secretary's generous chest, could have been removed. The disintegration of Rory's parents' marriage, his father's emotional ruminations and his mother's love story felt surfeit, boring and unnecessary. The focus on Jazz's personal life also slowed down the pace and became a tad boring. Though probably 25% too long, the novel is well-told.

There are themes of tolerance towards homosexuality, bullying in boys' schools, the effect of breakups on the parties, and how they protect their children during it.

The pace builds up in a satisfying way by the final quarter. The outcome is a pleasant surprise. There are historical threads tied up nicely. Because many of the plot secrets are not shared with the reader, we can't figure out whodunnit. Jazz and her police team are likeable, engaging protagonists. An enjoyable and recommended read.

Thanks to AuthorBuzz and NetGalley for an ARC of The Murders at Fleat House, in exchange for an honest review. This review can be found at https://thereadersvault.blogspot.com/2022/08/the-murders-at-fleat-house-lucinda-riley.html and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/ .
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A fabulous read. Couldn’t put it done. This book was spectacular, and a perfect set up for a series. I loved Jazz, and would anxiously await her next adventure. 


Can't wait to read more about Jazz.
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This is a totally different genre for late author Lucinda Riley and I'm sorry to say that it just wasn't for me. I fell in love with her writing years ago in the romance genre and her sister series. This was just too different from her norm for my taste.
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A twisty murder mystery with a very clever plot.  Love this author!
Many thanks to AuthorBuzz and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I have read a lot of Lucinda’s books. This is very different and I loved it and couldn’t put it down. I found it to be very clever with lots of twists and turns. I wish this would have been a series. Rest in peace Lucinda Riley, and thank you for bringing enjoyment into my reading. Also thank you to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for providing a digital advanced readers copy of the book for me to read for my honest opinion.
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I had never read Lucinda Riley’s books before.  But I ran across “The Murders at Fleat House” on Netgalley and it sounded interesting. Since it was available and I was in the mood for a good mystery so I thought I’d give it a try.

It was a mystery written many years ago, before Lucinda Riley became a published writer and her only crime novel.

According to the brief introduction by her son (the author had died), the novel was unchanged since his mother had written it in 2006 and it had not been published until now.


I liked this book from the start but found it complicated.

For reasons unconnected with the book, I took a 4 day break when I was half-way through.  I wasn’t sure if I could  pick up on this complicated story.  But that was no problem at all.

But back to the book itself.  It starts with a murder of a student at an English boarding school which of course gets your attention pretty quickly.  If you recall the title has the word “murders’ so you can be pretty sure that there will be more.

But those crimes don’t come right away since it is necessary to introduce the many characters in the story besides the murderer and the murdered.  It is done well and quite a few of those introduced seem to have a motive for murder.

The main character is Detective Inspector Jazmine ‘Jazz’ Hunter who had recently left the police force in London because of a bad marriage to another officer and was settling down in in small  village in Norfolk, East Anglia.  Before she is completely settled, she is asked to lead the investigation into the student’s murder.

As mentioned before, many of the characters had motive. DI Hunter has to sort through all that as well as a number of personal issues.

The story is fast paced and well-done.  I enjoyed it and hope you will too.
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