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The Skeleton in the Closet Mass Market Paperback – Mar 15 2002


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (March 15 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312981457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312981457
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 10.6 x 17 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #134,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER on Aug. 24 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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 series. I have enjoyed them all. This one, however, does not compare favorably.

The author introduces the character of Fellworth Dolphin, a nearly forty year old virgin who comes into a tidy little inheritance when his cold, unfeeling mother dies. As he and his mother had lived a working class existence when his mother was alive, Fellworth is both surprised and confused by the wealth of riches to which he suddenly finds himself heir,

Fellworth buddies up with a Plain Jane, Maggie Partlett, a waitress at the same hotel in which he also waits on tables. When Maggie moves in with Fellworth, they both begin to blossom, as does love. Together they seek to solve the mystery of Fellworth's surprising inheritance.

The problem with the book is that the characters are neither particularly well-developed nor engaging, nor is the plot all that intriguing. The dialogue is tepid, and the pace is languorous. That being said, fans of this author will derive a modicum of enjoyment from this book.
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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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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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By Mac Blair on July 21 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a delightful book. Fell Dolphin and Maggie Partlett are two new characters for Beaton. This is a very good mystery, to me. There is an inheritance, robbery, murder and a little romance. Fell gets to find out about his family while he a Maggie are on again of again in the romance field. It is a quick read, will hold your attention and a little surprising at the end. I liked the earlier Agatha Raisin books but she go to be to much a slut for me and I quit reading them. I really like the Hamish Macbeth books. This one is more along those lines.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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. The story is simple but likable about two adult losers that find each other. They grope towards each other with the sophistication of two inexperienced teenagers. The mystery is simple and predictible. A real murderer would have easily killed the two of them and gotten away with it. I wish Chesney would spend some time editing and rewriting her stories--the use of language is so jumpy. I finally skimmed the book--it was not worth spending any more effort upon. Two stars for story invention. Shame on you Ms Chesney--a person of you talent should be a better writer.
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