Fatal Inheritance

by Rachel Rhys

Crime and Mystery Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Historical Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of Fatal Inheritance

Slide into a glorious read, where glamour and enchantment walk hand in hand alongside intrigue and mystery.

A completely glorious and captivating read, one where glamour and enchantment walk hand in hand alongside intrigue and mystery. Step into 1948 and meet Eve, she goes against her stuffy husband’s wishes and travels to the French Riviera to find out about a mystery inheritance. As Eve attempts to uncover the riddle of her benefactor, she discovers the glittering world she has walked into may have a very ugly core. This is such a beautifully easy book to read, I simply slid into the pages and swam in the silky mysterious depths. I found myself willing Eve on, I became more and more fond of her, completely invested in the storyline. The surrounding characters are simply delicious, the allure of the French Riviera was dazzling. Rachel Rhys writes with the elegance of the age, the words and story wrapped themselves around me. Intrigue sparks intrigue, and a whiff of dastardly turns more deadly as information floats free. ‘Fatal Inheritance’ is eloquently seductive, I highly recommend finding yourself a beautiful spot and slipping into this rewarding story.

Liz Robinson

Fatal Inheritance Synopsis

London 1948: Eve Forrester is trapped in a loveless marriage, in a gloomy house, in a grey suburb. Out of the blue, she received a solicitor's letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mystery inheritance but in order to find out more, she must travel to the glittering French Riviera. Eve discovers her legacy is an enchanting villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea and suddenly, life could not be more glamorous. But while she rubs shoulders with film-stars and famous writers, under the heat of the golden sun, rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge. Rivals who want her out of the way. Alone in paradise, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest - before events turn deadly... Reminiscent of a Golden Age mystery, Fatal Inheritance is an intoxicating story of dysfunctional families and long-hidden secrets, set against the razzle-dazzle and decadence of the French Riviera. 

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780857524720
Publication date: 26th July 2018
Author: Rachel Rhys
Publisher: Doubleday an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd
Format: Hardback
Primary Genre Crime and Mystery
Other Genres:
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What To Read After Fatal Inheritance

The Riviera Express (A Miss Dimont Mystery, Book 1)
Birds of a Feather
The Corset
The Shadows of Men

Fatal Inheritance Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

The perfect, intelligent holiday read.

Set in 1948 in post-war London, Eve lives a boring suburban life. Out of nowhere she inherits a share in a house in the south of France. Against her husband’s advice (yes, really!), she sets out to visit the house to find out more. She meets a strange and interesting cast of characters as the truth is gradually revealed.

I read this during the current heatwave, all the time feeling I should have been reading it by the beach or a pool. A lovely guilty pleasure of a book – little effort required but very enjoyable. I’m sure that someone is already buying up the film rights.

Sarah Webb

Well.. I think I've found my new favourite author, what a great summer read! I loved this book, great cover. The premise of it's intriguing too - What do you do when a compete stranger leaves you a share of a house in The French Riviera? 10 out of 10!

Well.. I think I've found my new favourite author, what a great summer read! I loved the look of the book, great cover design, which always makes me want to open up read. The premise of it is intriguing - What do you do when a complete stranger leaves you a share of a house in The French Riviera? Well in Eve Forrester's case she goes there to see why and ends up embroiled in the lives of an American starlet, a famous author and a family travelling to France to see where their eldest son died during the war. She also meets the Lester family who own the other shares in the house, who really don't want her there and are less than welcoming.

Why did Guy Lester leave it to Eve? Who was Guy Lester and what connection does he have to Eve and her family?

I really enjoyed this book, the characters are lovingly described, with rich sumptuous details about the French Riviera during the war and life in 1948. It's filled with history and gratuitously name drops lots of famous artists and actors giving a glittering view of life in the French Riviera. Eve's self discovery and awakening as a person was a pleasure to read and I was thrilled with how it all turns out for her. It's also a real whodunit with twists and turns, leaving you guessing till near the end. As a fan of F.Scott Fitzgerald I found similarities in this which appealed to me. Would definitely recommend.

Nicky Hudson

This cleverly written mystery is the perfect summer read whilst relaxing on holiday and I'd happily recommend it, Rachel Rhys is a fabulously talented and atmospheric author that writes like a dream and I will definitely be reading more by her again in the future. 

Rachel Rhys is the pen name for the very popular psychological thriller writer Tammy Cohen and this her second book "Fatal Inheritance" is a wonderful, historical fiction novel that will appeal to many readers young and old. 
Although not quite as gripping as the author's first book "A Dangerous Crossing" that I also enjoyed, this is however just as fabulously written and beautifully atmospheric.
Set in 1948 on the gorgeous French Riviera, I could have been sitting there myself on the sun-drenched beach reading this book, it was so descriptive. I truly could smell the scent of lavender and honeysuckle and could easily imagine the uninterrupted views of the Mediterranean.
I liked the main character Eve a lot and sympathised with her mundane life and husband. I particularly loved how although she was not worldly wise she wasn't frightened to try new things and explore her new surroundings. Her new and very unexpected inheritance breathed new life into her and the mystery surrounding her benefactor Mr Lester, added to the intrigue.
This cleverly written mystery is the perfect summer read whilst relaxing on holiday and I'd happily recommend it, Rachel Rhys is a fabulously talented and atmospheric author that writes like a dream and I will definitely be reading more by her again in the future. 

A well-deserved 4 stars!

Miriam Smith

Wonderful story about the uncovering of family secrets set on the French Riviera in 1948.

The French Riviera in 1948, a beautiful villa overlooking the Mediterranean, an unexpected inheritance leading to the uncovering of family secrets - what more could you want! I loved this book and didn't want it to end.
Eve has a controlling husband and feels trapped in dreary post-war London when she learns of her mysterious inheritance and travels to Cannes. Rachel Rhys brilliantly evokes the glamour of the Riviera and the colours, heat and smells of summer there. There are mysteries - what is Eve's connection to the man who left her the legacy, why does someone want her to leave the villa, is she in danger? Where do the glamourous but unhappy film star and the American writer fit in? All the elements you might expect from the time and setting are there and are cleverly woven into an absorbing and satisfying story.
It has a great storyline, wonderful characters, a heroine who finds herself by uncovering her background. With the exotic setting and period detail as well this would make a fantastic film.

Ann Peet

This is a very good read which claims your attention at the beginning and encourages you to keep turning the pages!

Eve Forrester is unhappily married to Clifford who has taken over from her Mother in controlling all parts of her life.
The story begins when she receives a solicitor’s letter asking her to attend his office as she has been named in the will left by Guy Lester although she is not aware of any connection to this man. She must travel to France to hear the details of her inheritance. Once in France she finds that she has inherited a part share in a family house and that Guy Lester’s family want to sell the property. They are unable to do this without her agreement.
She is given a ring and she remembers seeing photo of her mother wearing the ring and holding her as a baby. There are flashbacks of Guy Lester in England before his death and this visit holds the key for the story of Eve’s connection with Guy Lester.
She feels threatened and finally someone tries to drown her by pushing her off the cliffs. On her unexpected return to the house after lunch one day, she finds out who has been trying to frighten her and why.
The whole journey and story give Eve the courage to remain in France when her husband returns to England and also allows her to break with her domineering Mother.

Kathy Howell

Fatal Inheritance is a perfect summer read that brings the glamour of the post-war French Riviera to you in a most thrilling and captivating way.

Fatal Inheritance is a thrilling mystery set in the glamorous post - war world of the French Riviera. Eve leads a very dull and unfulfilling life in London with her husband Clifford until she receives a letter asking her to travel to the South of France to receive information on an inheritance that has been left to her by a mystery benefactor. She then enters the world of the rich and famous and tries to uncover the truth about why she has been included in the last will and testament of a man she knows nothing about and has never met.

This novel is a perfect summer read that brings the ambience and fragrance of the French Riviera to life and will keep you guessing until the end.

Emma Barton

Gripping, warm and thoroughly entertaining - a real page-turner.

Fatal Inheritance is set in post-war Britain and the French Riviera and it follows the journey of Eve Forrester, a bored housewife, who as come into an unexpected inheritance by someone she has never heard of. In order to accept the inheritance, she has to travel to the south of France where her life is turned upside down.

From the very first pages, I was really taken by and interested in the main character Eve, and I started to root for her straight away, which is always the best way to get me into a book.

Rachel Rhys really knows how to create a brilliant story and I spent several late nights, staying up and reading because I just needed to know what was going to happen next. I can't wait to read the next novel by this fantastic author.

Alexandra Harper-Williams

A gripping story, wonderful characterisation and so descriptive it will transport you on Eve's journey to a glittering post-war French Riviera. Perfect holiday reading.

I loved this book from the very first page. I have never read any of Rachel Rhys books before - a mistake on my part after finishing this book! I was so impressed by the characterisation, dialogue and vivid use of description. This book transports you with Eve Forrester to the exotic French Riviera - a place I have never visited but felt I was experiencing through Eve's eyes in the post war years.
This is a book that ticks all the boxes for a brilliant holiday read - mystery, intrigue and likeable and unlikeable characters in a fabulous setting. It has a cracking pace that never lets up. The comparison to Eve's drab and boring life back home to her unexpected destination because of a mysterious inheritance -the challenges she faces and life-changing decisions she makes, is brilliant.
Rachel Rhys is a superlative storyteller and this books provides the reader with escapism at its finest.

Stephanie Blakey

A very enjoyable, singular read. I will be seeking out her first novel under this name and also those she has already written under the name of Tammy Cohen.

An atmospheric post-war story taking you from the dingy rationed drabness of the London suburbs to the now somewhat dilapidated, but in it’s way still glamorous, French Riviera.

It tells the story of Eve, trapped in a boring, affectionless marriage who receives a mystery bequest and how she unravels the tale of who she is and why the inheritance of one quarter of a large house with magnificent ocean views should come to her rather than the bereaved close family.

Rachel creates pictures in your mind of these different places, the sights and particularly the smells that make you feel you are really there. Also the characters she creates are at times OTT but in that post-war spirit of excess in those that still have money, they are fully believable. Often their excesses seem to be just to celebrate still being alive when so many had died in the conflict.

Well before the middle of the book I was as desperate to find the answers as Eve but paradoxically I didn’t want the book to finish, as sadly of course it had to eventually!

A very enjoyable, singular read. I will be seeking out her first novel under this name and also those she has already written under the name of Tammy Cohen.

Gill Wilmott

Fatal Inheritance reads like a modern-day Agatha Christie, where everyone is a potential suspect, and with a plot that slowly unfurls in a slew of beautiful prose.

Fatal Inheritance reads like a vivid dream.

It’s filled with the sights, smells and sounds of the Riviera, as we follow Eve Forrester on her journey to find out her past.

Set in 1948, three years after World War Two has ended, we meet Eve and her husband Clifford at their home in England.
It quickly becomes clear that Eve is disillusioned with her life and feels out of place, amongst their dark, inherited furniture and their stifling routine.

But this is all about to change when Eve receives a letter from a solicitor, inviting her to his office to discuss an inheritance she has come into.

Eve has been left a quarter share of a villa in the south of France by a man, Guy Lester. Having no idea of why she has been included in his will, as she does not know him, she travels to the Cap D’Antibes, and first sets sight on the Villa la Perle.

She is transfixed by the beauty of the villa and its surroundings, but her happiness Is tempered by her dealings with the Lester family and their desperation to sell it off.

Eager to find out about her connection to Guy, and to postpone her return to her dreary life for as long as she can, she finds herself thrown into the social set of the area, and during her whirlwind ten day stay, she uncovers the mystery of her inheritance and past.

Fatal Inheritance reads like a modern-day Agatha Christie, with everyone a potential suspect, and with a plot that slowly unfurls in a slew of beautiful prose.

I lingered over every word, breathing in the scents of the Riviera, and felt dazzled by its brilliance.

Gwen McGinty

This was an absorbing read and I enjoyed it. I liked the contrast between stuffy post-war London and the decadence of the French Riviera.

This was an absorbing read and I enjoyed it. I liked the contrast between stuffy post-war London and the decadence of the French Riviera.

Eve is a character you root for. At times you wish she could be more forthright but the more you learn about her upbringing you realise that she has been expected to conform all her life and doesn't know how to act differently. She eventually starts to break out of this way of thinking which leaves a satisfying ending.

The other characters seem quite stereotyped at first but do gradually feel more real. With some of them it's hard to tell who's a goody or a baddy. The mystery about Eve's inheritance is slow to unravel but all the loose ends are discovered and baddies revealed by the end of the story.

I would recommend this and would like to read more from this author.

Nicola Lowes

Eve is bored with her life and in a loveless marriage when she receives a letter telling her she is to receive an unexpected inheritance.

Eve is bored with her life and in a loveless marriage when she receives a letter telling her she is to receive an unexpected inheritance. Her benefactor is not known to her and it's necessary to travel to Cannes in the South of France to find out what she has inherited and to find out why. Set in 1948, in the immediate post-war years, the glamour and affluence Eve encounters in France is in stark contrast to her grey life at home and she is overwhelmed by the people, the landscape, and the generous inheritance she is to receive. But as you would expect, the inheritance comes with strings attached and unanswered questions. As Eve searches for answers, she finds herself drawn into the lives of the beautiful people and the party set, and she begins to suspect she may be at risk.
Rachel Rhys describes the landscape of Cap de Antibes beautifully and I was drawn in, keen to find out the mysteries of Eve's past. However, the book wandered too far into chick lit territory for me, with detailed descriptions of the eyes of every male character and some very 'Pride and Prejudice' style interaction and misunderstandings between Eve and some of male characters. Not really my type of book, but if you like that sort of thing, it would be a good holiday read (especially if you are visiting the South of France).

Alison Burns

A joy to read, gripping story, one to pack for a holiday, Rachel Rhys has triumphed again with her novel Fatal inheritance full of quirky characters and twist and turns in a glamourous setting in the South of France

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys was a joy to read! The story of a downtrodden wife to an overbearing husband and how she overcomes this through gaining an unexpected inheritance and at the same time, her independence. Who doesn't dream of a letter out of the blue with unexpected fortune! There are obstacles along the way however as someone wants her out of the way, while she is enjoying the glamour of rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. Reminiscent of an Agatha Christie novel in a sun kissed setting, Eve Forrester is a typical housewife of the late 1940's suddenly thrust into a new world totally outside her comfort zone. Her character is very lifelike and I found myself sympathising with her, willing her to leave her dull husband and escape to a new world. The combination of the quirky characters and the gripping storyline makes for a great summer read, definitely one to pack for a holiday. I will definitely be reading her other novel and keeping an eye out for more from Rachel Rhys.


Set in the post-Second World War French Riviera... you can almost feel the heat coming right off the page.

Eve receives a letter from a solicitor informing her of an inheritance from a mysterious stranger. To find out what she has inherited, she must travel to the South of France. The story is set in the post-Second World War French Riviera and sharp contrasts are drawn between that region and post-war England. A relaxing holiday read, the plot unwinds smoothly and effortlessly until the mystery of why Eve has received her inheritance is hinted at and finally revealed. Descriptions are so evocative you can almost feel the heat coming right off the page. It would be great to read this whilst on holiday in the region.

Rachel Aygin

An easy read which will go down very well as a holiday read but will equally brighten any dull British winter day.

A story which basks in the postwar era moving from grey, dull England to the bright colours of the French Riviera- Eve Forrester is locked in the monotony of a loveless marriage in boring suburbia and is suddenly offered a glimmer of excitement in her life when she is told that she is to receive an inheritance from an unknown person. Her husband reluctantly allows her to travel to France to find out more from the solicitor and the ensuing story reveals new possibilities for her and will change her future forever. 

The array of colourful characters she meets from film stars to writers down on their luck, harks back to the golden era of the French Riviera when Hemingway and Fitzgerald walked the streets and bathed in the idyllic Mediterranean a generation before. Some of that sparkle still remains but the war has dulled the lives of ordinary people leaving dust and debris on their lives as well as on the magnificent villas that remain. The shadows of the recent war threaten to darken the lives of Eve and the family which she becomes embroiled in as the story comes to a climax. 

An easy read which will go down very well as a holiday read but will equally brighten any dull British winter day.

Jillian McFrederick

A great read, memorable characters in a beautiful setting with an intriguing plot, with an appealing central heroine.

This book is a perfect example of escapist fiction at its best. It is totally believable and a thoroughly good read. I was completely absorbed by the characters and storyline. Couldn't fault it at all, nor could I put it down.

Fatal Inheritance tells the story of Eva Forrester who is more or less satisfactorily married and living in the post war suburbs when she receives an unexpected legacy from someone she doesn't know. The legacy is a share in a villa in the south of France. As Eve travels to France and tries to find out the reason for the bequest, her position becomes more dangerous. The late 1940s is wonderfully captured within a time frame most people have not experienced. The author must have done extensive research to capture the mood and spirit of the times in such an authentic way. Plus the plot is great.

For me the novel has tinges of Agatha Christie and Mary Stewart. Well worth taking on holiday.

maxine broadbent

Eve is left a quarter share in a house in the South of France by a man who she does not know. She travels to France and tries to work out the connection between her and this man. Things are not always as they seem and people cannot always be taken at face value.

It is 1948, the aftermath of WW2 still lingers. Eve is married to a dull man and lives a dull life but is expected to be grateful. As the story unfolds we learn that she also has a tricky relationship with her mother.

Then one day she receives a solicitor's letter which states that she has been left an inheritance. She has no idea who the person is who has left her a quarter of a share of his villa in the South of France. Her husband is suspicious but she travels to France and meets the bereaved family members of this man. Against her husbands wishes she stays and spends some time rubbing shoulders with some high profile people and tries to fathom what links her to this mystery man, and unlock secrets from the past.

As I progressed I began to imagine all sorts of possible outcomes but none were as obvious as I thought and many of the characters were not as they first seemed. The story takes shape following some unexpected twists and turns and the ending will surprise you.

I enjoyed this book, I liked the style in which it was written and the story was believable with a good mixture of characters who were all relevant to the plot. It was difficult to predict the future chain of events and there were plenty of surprises.

Dawn Vanstone

A satisfying mystery set in 1948. Eve Forrester, a young English housewife married to a fairly unloving man suddenly inherits a quarter share of a villa in the South of France. Why? She goes to the Riviera to find the astonishing truth which changes her whole life.

Set in 1948 this novel tells the story of Eve Forrester, a young woman married to a domineering man and with a domineering mother. One day she is contacted by a solicitor about an inheritance. When she arrives in France she learns she has inherited a quarter share of a villa in the South of France. But why? There is no explanation offered so she tries to discover what lies behind this legacy. The Riviera is so different from grey England and Eve is thrown into a bewildering mix of exotic people - film stars, novelists, beauties and some more shady characters. Gradually the mystery begins to reveal itself and leads to an exciting and satisfying climax.

Eve becomes bold enough to stand up to her husband and mother, particularly as the secrets begin to be told, and the last chapters set a year later show a very different person. Beautifully written, this book is a satisfyingly slow burn. The descriptions are vivid and the characterisation is excellent. It is a story of one woman's bewildering and unhappy past slowly being explained. It touches on post-war deprivation in England contrasted to the excesses of the Riviera. Bubbling under the gaiety and fun there is a darker story of collaboration, hatred and deceit. I enjoyed this very much and would heartily recommend it.

Lynne Rapson

Set in the sparkling French Riviera post war 1948. It's a story of love, betrayal and friendships.

It's 1948 and Eve Forrester is trapped in a dull and lonely marriage with straight laced husband Clifford. She receives a solicitors letter out of the blue in which she learns that a wealthy stranger has left her a quarter share in his villa. She's got no idea who or what Guy Lester means to her.

Clifford and of course her mother Mary almost forbid her to leave England for the beautiful and sparkling French Riviera. She's been invited alone to find out more about her inheritance. Used to rationing and penny pinching she falls head over heels for the decadence, abundance and glamour of the Riviera.

The Lesters are not at all happy to welcome this stranger to their midst. Who is she in relation to their father? A twisty read which made me gasp out loud when I learned of the connection(s). Eve was a brilliant character who grew and developed over the course of the story, ready to make her own decisions and forge her way in life. Totally brilliant and highly recommend.


A very engaging story with enough intrigue and mystery to keep you reading.

What a good read this was. A very engaging story with enough intrigue and mystery to keep you reading, while not being so complicated you couldn't follow the plot.
I was rooting for Eve, trapped in a loveless marriage, feeling like she has to settle, then her whole world opening up to new possibilities.
I fell in love with the place and with her, and could visualise the house, the sea, and the coastline.
I very much enjoyed this and I would pick up more books by this author.

Lou Woods

Brilliant once it gets to the heart of the story. A fantastic holiday read.

The main concept of this book, is the mysterious circumstances in which Eve (the main character) has been left a share of a house in the French Riviera, in an apparent stranger's will. There are many twists and turns in this book, that are important in keeping the reader entertained.
I found this one to be slightly slow going, but once the key points of the story picked up it was an entertaining read. I would definitely recommend this book for someone going on holiday, as it would make and excellent beach read.

Laura Rowland

Excellent period thriller reminiscent of Agatha Christie, one to elicit a chill as you read this on your sun lounger!

This is a sumptuous read, full of period detail & with an intriguing mystery at its heart. The ability of the author to convincingly portray the post-War period is considerable, including making the dialogue authentic & including interesting details about clothing etc. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy intelligent, literary thrillers as well as anyone looking for an engrossing summer holiday read.

Jennifer Stoddart

Rachel Rhys Press Reviews

Rachel Rhys should be on everyone's summer reading list - CLARE MACKINTOSH

With a dash of Agatha Christie and a nod to Zelda Fitzgerald, Rachel Rhys' historical mystery is simply gorgeous. The late 1940s Cote d'Azur setting is a character in its own right - one that will have you yearning to sip a gin fizz while watching the sun sink into the Mediterranean - KATE RIORDAN

I am racing though this delicious thriller set on the French Riviera in 1948. Rachel Rhys really is a natural successor to Patricia Highsmith. Out July, put it on preorder now so you don't forget. - SARRA MANNING

Deadly secrets, dazzling sunshine - utterly seductive. This book is a total joy - LUCY DAWSON

Atmospheric, totally absorbing and joyfully original - JANE FALLON

Utterly enthralling; Rachel Rhys brilliantly evokes the shabby glamour and bruised hearts of the post-war Riviera, where everyone has a secret to hide. I adored it. - JANE CASEY

I absolutely loved this book. All the intrigue of Agatha Christie with the intelligence of Barbara Vine in the most glamorous of settings. Rhys writes like an exotic dream! - LIZ NUGENT

Public service announcement; this book deserves to be massive. Can't tell you how hard and fast I fell for it. A stunningly beautiful, page turning feast of a novel - COLETTE MCBETH

Who doesn't dream of a letter from a solicitor informing them of something that is in their interest? When Eve sets off for the South of France to discover what lies in wait, she finds filmstars, roues, drunken writers and a disaffected housekeeper - the perfect recipe for a glorious post-war thriller. A wonderful bouillabaisse of glamour, greed, revenge and romance as Eve fights to escape a loveless, bloodless marriage and find her true self. As chic as Chanel with a hint of Christie, Fatal Inheritance will be on all the best-dressed sun-loungers this summer. - VERONICA HENRY

Rachel Rhys wove a spell over me with this book and whisked me away to the glitz of 1940s French Riviera. Sumptuous and hugely compelling, Rhys is a master of dialogue and observation and her characters crackle with life.Utter bliss. - AMANDA JENNINGS

I had to make myself slow down when reading this delicious, thrilling novel, because I didn't want it to end. If Daphne Du Maurier had been writing about the Cote D'Azur instead of Cornwall, she couldn't have done it better. Absolutely superb. - CASS GREEN

I raced through this and absolutely love it. What a cleverly woven plot, with intriguing characters and great period atmosphere! It made me want to drop everything and rush out to live there, in a house as similar to Villa la Perle as I can possibly find. - GILL PAUL

This atmospheric and intriguing novel will transport you to a glamorous - and deadly sun-baked world - Irish Times

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780857524720
Publication date: 26/07/2018
Format: Hardback

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About Rachel Rhys

Rachel Rhys is the pen-name of a successful psychological suspense author. A Dangerous Crossing is her debut under this name and is inspired by a real life account of a 1930s ocean voyage. A Dangerous Crossing is due to be published around the world. Rachel Rhys lives in North London with her family. Author photo © Johnny Ring

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