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The Skeleton in the Closet [Mass Market Paperback]

M. C. Beaton
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 15 2002 St. Martin's Minotaur Mysteries
Ever since the death of his father, poor Fellworth Dolphin has slaved away as a waiter to support his miserly, cold-hearted mother. When his mother suddenly dies, Fellworth is shocked to discover that she has left him a sizable inheritance. confused, Fell teams up with Maggie, a plain girl with a similar background, to investigate the source of the riches. But what they find is a closet full of skeletons...

Is it really possible Fell's father was involved in a long-ago train robbery? Who's the mysterious woman in the portrait hidden in his mother's wardrobe? As Maggie and Fell poke around the village for answers, they find themselves on a surprise-filled path to danger and adventure, and--just possibly--love. But Fell's sudden good fortune could come to an abrupt end if he doesn't stay one step ahead of a cunning killer...

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The Skeleton in the Closet + The Walkers of Dembley + Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Taking a break from her two long-running series (Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth), Beaton introduces a pair of engaging misfits whose struggles to cope with overbearing families and overweening circumstances teach them, eventually, to rely on each other. When diffident fortyish virgin Fellworth Dolphin's mother dies, he finds himself surprisingly relieved and freed from a bondage he was only partially aware of. That's nowhere near the astonishment he feels when he learns that, in spite of their penurious existence, he's heir to a large sum. In a moment of panic, when it seems an aunt might assume the tyrannical role his mother once played, Fell pretends an engagement to mousy waitress Maggie Partlett. In fits and starts, Maggie and Fell begin their separate transformations--she to a swan, he to a drake. One catalyst is the money and its questionable provenance--perhaps the result of an infamous train robbery that occurred many years ago and that Fell's father might have been involved with. The other is the transformation wrought by their shared investigation and their shared lives, as Maggie falls in with the pretended engagement for her own purposes. Various relatives and villains attempt to derail the couple as they journey, but there's never a question of where the author is taking her odd couple, and never a doubt they will arrive safely. The trip will delight fans of either of Beaton's other series. (Mar. 21)will be published on Mar. 6 (see Forecasts, Dec. 18, 2000).

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Fellworth Dolphin, virginal and fortyish, achieves freedom when his manipulative, widowed mother dies of a sudden heart attack. Surprisingly, Dolphin inherits a small fortune as well as a mysteriously full cash box. To keep family at bay, he invents a live-in fianc e plain Maggie from the restaurant he has just quit who becomes his accomplice in investigating a years-old, unsolved train robbery with which his father had some connection. Assault, deception, and attempted murder dog their search, which uncovers much more than just robbery perps. Beaton, in fine form, handles a twisting plot with dexterity, wit, and precision. Recommended.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN the way that illiterate people become very cunning at covering up their disability, Mr. Fellworth Dolphin, known as Fell, approaching forty, was still a virgin and kept it a dark secret. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a terrific new series by a great author Aug. 16 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Fellworth "Fell" Dolphin grew up in a family lacking the normal love. His parents took good care of him and he never went hungry, but they never had any of the extras. Matter of fact, when his father became ill and later died, Fell had to get a job. His mother took his checks and gave him a small allowance to spend. She was a cold-hearted woman and controlled his life. Then one day he returned from work at the hotel to find his mother dead. Instead of grieving, he feels relieved.
Even before he can decide what he will do, his parents' lawyer calls. Fell finds out that his mother left him a large sum of money. Where did the money come from? They lived like misers. He could have gone to the university. They stole his youth! Fell goes home and begins going through his father's desk to find out more about his parents' financial situation. He finds a cash box full of money. Why would they hide money in the desk? Could it have been gotten illegally?
Aunt Agnes, his mother's sister, comes to call. She is concerned that Fell will need someone to care for him so she has decided to make the sacrifice. Fell is stricken with horror. He immediately tells her that won't be necessary because he is engaged to Maggie, a co-worker at the hotel.
Next he needs to tell Maggie and see if she will go along with his charade. She is a very plain girl and it turns out her home life hasn't been great. She is thrilled with the idea. She ends up moving into Fell's home -- separate rooms of course.
Fell and Maggie begin redecorating his house. Things are going well. They even begin discussing opening a bookstore.
Then Andy Briggs shows up accusing Fell's father of being a part of the old Post Office train robbery.
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By Moe811
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Fell Dolphin has led a miserable life. Beaten as a child, repressed and forced to support his mother at an early age, he hasn't had much of a life and really has nothing to look forward to. Since his father's death, he has been her sole support, and has no privacy or life of his own. He doesn't even have a key to his own house. Upon the death of his mother, he finds out that he has inherited a substantial amount of money. Since his parents have cried poverty all his life, just where did all the cash come from? To avoid having his mother's sister move in with him, he tells her that he is engaged to a coworker, Maggie Partlett, and convinces Maggie to move in with him to substantiate the lie. Maggie had been living in much the same circumstances as Fell, and is happy to escape a miserable life. The two of them get together to investigate the source of Fell's wealth. Fell is afraid that his father had been part of a train robbery in the town, and decides to investigate that crime.
This was a very good mystery, very different from Beaton's usual works. Two unhappy repressed characters find each other and blossom and solve a mystery as well. There is even a happy ending. A fast read and very entertaining.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfectly Imperfect Fantasy Nov. 17 2001
M.C. (Marion Chesney?) Beaton takes the Regency Romance into the third millennia with a delightful cozy mystery featuring a couple of brand new friends. Once again the reader is treated to a healthy dose of English village life with the emotionally stunted semi-losers Maggie & Fellworth Dolphin. In this twenty-second century Cinderella story, Fellworth's tyrant of a mother dies, he finds his dull life absolutely full of surprises. To avoid a takeover by the Evil Aunt Agnes, the prematurely grey, virginal Fell fictionalizes an engagement to the plump Maggie with limp hair and thick glasses and ankles. As they turn the cottage from a pumpkin into a home, the two of them are virtually unaware of the magic going on in their lives. Fell begins to grow a backbone, as Maggie goes from ugly duckling to swan. But Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauty really don't see themselves (or each other) as they attempt to figure out an ages old train robbery as well as the next chapter in their (up to this point) dreary lives. The author weaves her magic and once again gives us a spectacularly delectable little book with a couple of characters who we enjoy getting to know.
This time of year, I would also HIGHLY recommend Ms. Beaton's HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS, as well as the entire Hamish MacBeth and Agatha Raisin Series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a satisfying read March 13 2001
By tregatt
If you're a Marion Chesney fan (M.C. Beaton's other pen name), you will enjoy her latest work, "The Skeleton In The Closet." The plot of this novel follows closely most of those that she wrote as Marion Chesney -- the downtrodden protagonist comes into an unexpected windfall, rediscovers the selfishness of his/her family and decides to try and live life instead of cowering away from it. The only difference is that her earlier works that had this basic plot premise were usually regency romances and this novel is set in the 20th century.
Fellworth Dolphin, who had basically given up all his dreams and ambitions in order to look after his parents, discovers upon his remaining parent's death, that his parents were actually quite well off and that he had sacrificed everything for nothing! Going through his parents' things, Fell discovers almost 50, 000 pounds in a strong box. Where did all this money come from? But before he can even begin to investigate more fully, his aunt threatens to move in with him. In a moment of blind panic Fell claims to be engaged and asks his friend Maggie to give credence to the lie and to move in with him. Maggie herself is living a life of unfulfilling drudgery; secretly in love with Fell, she agrees to help him, not expecting very much to come out of this except perhaps for a few beautiful memories. But that is before Fell and Maggie discover that Fell's father might have been involved in a train robbery. Suddenly Fell and Maggie find their lives full of adventure: Fell's home is burgled and their lives threatened. Could all the money Fell inherited be stolen loot? Fell and Maggie are determined to discover where all this money has come from, no matter the cost.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it - there are more wonderful things in here ...
I love it - there are more wonderful things in here than (M.C. Beaton's mind) - Agatha Raisin, Hamish MacBeth, an Edwardian novel
that sets your heart a beating, and now Fell... Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. M. Clifton
3.0 out of 5 stars THE ODD COUPLE...
I have read and loved many of the other British cozies written by this author. In fact, she has written a number of series: Agatha Raisin, Hamish Macbeth, and the Edwardian Mystery... Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2010 by Lawyeraau
5.0 out of 5 stars A GOOD ONE!
What a delightful book. Fell Dolphin and Maggie Partlett are two new characters for Beaton. This is a very good mystery, to me. Read more
Published on July 21 2002 by Mac Blair
2.0 out of 5 stars Teenage Romance Novel
Marion Chesney (M C Beaton) has a gift for story invention, but the level of writing is at the teenage level. I gave this story a read because I enjoy the Hamish Macbeth stories. Read more
Published on March 30 2002 by Sherry Danielson
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful schmalz, a charming cozy
I have always felt somewhat ambivalent about the Agatha Raisin series which is too over the top for me, and too unsatisfactory from a matchmaking perspective, but had a lovely time... Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2001 by Kristi E. Jalics
2.0 out of 5 stars One Series Too Many
"The Skeleton in the Closet" introduces new characters by M.C. Beaton, who is "taking a break from her two long-running series." I love Hamish, I love Agatha. Read more
Published on July 30 2001 by Foodie
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet little Mystery
MC Beaton has done it again. She can always be counted on for an enjoyable light read with great characters. Read more
Published on April 27 2001 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous!
THE SKELETON IN THE CLOSET is the first book I ever read by M.C. Beaton, and it was marvelous. It's a fairy tale with all sorts of wonderful and magical things befalling the main... Read more
Published on April 16 2001 by HeyJudy
5.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for Agatha
Thank you, M.C. Beaton for the wonderful new book "Skeleton in the Closet" i was suffering withdrawal having no more Agatha raisins left to read and along comes this... Read more
Published on March 18 2001 by David Spanswick
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