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Fifth Son: An Inspector Green Mystery [Paperback]

Barbara Fradkin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2004 An Inspector Green Mystery (Book 4)

Accident or suicide? That's the simple question put to Inspector Michael Green when a derelict stranger falls to his death from an abandoned church tower in a quiet river village at the edge of his jurisdiction. But when the victim turns out be a long lost son of a local farm family cursed in recent years by tragedy, madness and death, Green begins to suspect something far more sinister is at work. Probing the family's past, he uncovers a toxic mix of rigid fundamentalism, teenage rebellion and a family secret so horrific that twenty years later, someone is still desperate to prevent the truth from coming to light.


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Accident or suicide? That's the simple question put to Inspector Michael Green when a derelict stranger falls to his death from an abandoned church tower in a quiet river village at the edge of his jurisdiction. But when the victim turns out be a long lost son of a local farm family cursed in recent years by tragedy, madness and death, Green begins to suspect something far more sinister is at work. Probing the family's past, he uncovers a toxic mix of rigid fundamentalism, teenage rebellion and a family secret so horrific that twenty years later, someone is still desperate to prevent the truth from coming to light.

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Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel!

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Yet! Oct. 15 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A man falls to his death from a bell tower of an old church. Was it suicide or something more sinister? Inspector Michael Green investigates but finds more questions than answers.
This latest in the Michael Green series is the best yet. The story was well written and had me guessing right up until the end. The characters were colourful, interesting and easy to care about.
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By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
"Fifth Son," by Barbara Fradkin, opens with the discovery of the body of a man, by his clothing and physical state a homeless person, at the foot of a crumbled disused church in a small farming village in Ontario, not far from Ottawa. As part of an expansion of the duties of the Ottawa Police, Inspector Michael Green is called out to the scene, and right away he finds anomalies that are difficult to reconcile with the prevailing theory of suicide; for example, the man's body is facing the wrong way. As he investigates, he starts to uncover the past of a tragic family in the area, and crimes long thought past and buried. But can he determine the culprit before said person strikes again?.... This is the fourth in Barbara Fradkin's Inspector Green series, and unusually takes place mostly outside of the city of Ottawa. There is an emphasis on the mindsets of rural people as contrasted with that of the extremely urban Green, and we also learn a bit more about Green's relationships, particularly with his wife and with his former partner, Sergeant Sullivan, who has yet again been passed over for promotion. I very much enjoy this series, not least because the author, a trained psychologist, takes the time to delve into the mental states of her characters; this story is almost as much a psychological novel as it is crime fiction. I also find that it's not absolutely necessary to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy any given novel in it, although as always once one starts to read and enjoy the series, the pleasure of reading is enhanced by having the complete picture. Recommended.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A character-driven psychological thriller Dec 2 2004
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Barbara Fradkin is a Ph.D. child psychologist and is a product of Montreal. She attended McGill University and the University of Toronto. She has been a full time child psychologist, but has recently left full-time work to pursue writing. She has written many short stories, which have been published in several magazines. She is sort of a combination of Sherlock Holmes' and Doctor Watson's feminine side.

Michael Green, Ottawa Inspector and father of both a brooding teenager and a fairly new baby, is an intelligent Jewish sleuth who is both persistent and caring about both his job and his growing family. While his psychologist wife, Sharon, deals with Bob, a carpenter of dubious work patterns, their dog, baby and his rebellious daughter Hannah, Green rides along with Brian Sullivan, who has called him to a town by the name of Ashford Landing. A body has been found at the base of an ancient bell tower in an abandoned church, and it turns out to be one of the Pettigrews. But, who is it? The remaining family member, Robbie, was the youngest, and the family's history of tragedy drove him away from any contact with his brothers:

"Colour began to return to Robbie's face. 'I haven't seen my brothers in many years. Ohmigod, let me think.' He stood abruptly and carried the photo over to the light. While they waited, Green absorbed impressions about the room. It was neat and uncluttered, but the furniture was heavy, dark and worn, the carpet on the floor stained and threadbare. There were no pictures of family, or smiling children, or even his father."

Dr. Fradkin has created a dysfunctional family which is pure Alfred Hitchcook in this dark and intelligent mystery. Inspector Green, operating in a tumultuous time for both his personal life and his professional standing as a police officer, is forced to single-handedly prove that not only did a murder occur, but then to sort through the myriad of motives caused by an event that took place twenty years in the past. This is a character-driven psychological thriller of a mystery that is a page turner from page one. Bravo!

Shelley Glodowski

Senior Reviewer
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barbara Fradkin hits her stride Sept. 24 2005
By Cardinal47 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the second Inspector Green mystery I have read. I read the first, Do or Die, just recently. After reading this fourth in the series I'll definitely have to go back and read the other two. I eagerly await the fifth.

The plot and character development in this novel are exceptional. What appears at first to be an accidental death or at most a suicide as a man falls or is pushed from an abandoned church balcony in the small Ottawa Valley town of ashford Landing turns out to be murder. But who has been murdered and who the murderer is are not immediately apparent. Tenacious Inspector Green pursues scanty leads to uncover a secret that a family has kept hidden for twenty years but at great cost to siblings and parents. Great reading!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Yet! Oct. 15 2004
By Tania Hutchison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A man falls to his death from a bell tower of an old church. Was it suicide or something more sinister? Inspector Michael Green investigates but finds more questions than answers.
This latest in the Michael Green series is the best yet. The story was well written and had me guessing right up until the end. The characters were colourful, interesting and easy to care about.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best of Fredkin I've read June 18 2006
By L. J. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Inspector Michael Green decides to go for a ride along with Sergeant Brian Sullivan to Ashford Landing where a man has been found dead at the bottom of a church tower. The death is a suspected suicide, but Green isn't so certain. The body is, at first, unidentified but later believed to be one of the Pettigrew boys, a strange, dysfunctional family who used to live on a farm in the town. Figuring out which Pettigrew he is and why he dies proves harder than anyone imagined.

This is not my favorite of Fradkin's books. There were a lot of characters and very little character development. I felt you'd have had to read previous books even to understand the protagonists. The plot was convoluted, overly complicated and relied heavily on a couple of coincidences. The dialogue was fine but very little sense of place was conveyed. It wasn't a terrible read. I did get through it in a day, but that is the sense of it I had--simply getting through it.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Yet! Oct. 15 2004
By Tania Hutchison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A man falls to his death from a bell tower of an old church. Was it suicide or something more sinister? Inspector Michael Green investigates but finds more questions than answers.

This latest in the Michael Green series is the best yet. The story was well written and had me guessing right up until the end. The characters were colourful, interesting and easy to care about.
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