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Who Are You Linda Condrick? [Hardcover]

Patricia Carlon
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 1 2002
The contentious relatives living on the remote Forst sheep station are united against an interloper from Sydney who was hired to nurse old Mrs. Forst in her last illness. Now the heir, Gregory Forst, has become engaged to marry her and the others fear that they will be turned out of the valley. A bushfire rages, threatening all of their homesteads. And then, the charred body of a swagman is found. How did he die? Could he have been murdered? By the outsider, the nurse? Who, really, is Linda Condrick?

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

First published in 1962, this mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie's The Unexpected Guest from Australian Carlon (Death by Demonstration) still packs a punch. The aftermath of a fire in the outback reveals the body of a "swaggie," or drifter, with whom nurse Linda Condrick had spoken only a short time before. Certain locals overheard their conversation, and as soon as the fire is ruled out as the victim's cause of death, tongues start to wag. Linda has come to Leumeah Valley, a hard-earned, hard-working sheep station, to care for the Forst family matriarch. Soon after, grandson Gregory Forst decides to make Linda the new mistress of Leumeah. When old Mrs. Forst passes on, she leaves her entire estate to Gregory. The rest of the family, who've spent their lives sponging from Mrs. Forst, react like circling carnivores, and Linda is soon the focus of everyone's suspicions except Gregory and teenager Rowena Searle. Rowena, who'd come to live with the Forsts after her parents' death, is Gregory's only support as they valiantly defend Linda from the rest of the pack. When Inspector Quince comes out to investigate, he keeps Rowena close at hand and uses her well-known skill of eavesdropping. What does anyone really know about this Linda Condrick person? Prior to her appearance as a nurse, she seems to have had no existence at all. Why has she really come to Leumeah Valley? Carlon has masterfully put together a suspenseful read that will keep you guessing and misguessing right up to the last page.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Carlon's thrillers, originally published in Australia in the 1960s, have been appearing in the U.S. for the last several years. Her crisp prose, deliciously complex puzzles, and well-drawn characters have traveled well across both decades and continents. Told mostly from the point of view of 16-year-old Rowena Searle, this one concerns the Forst family and the stranger, Linda Condrick, who has disrupted their lives. Engaged to marry Gregory Forst, grandson of wealthy landowner Ella Forst, Linda is a coolly confident diva who scoffs at the greedy, petty family. When matriarch Ella died, she left everything to grandson Gregory, forcing the other Forsts to hope for his charity. The various family members--and narrator Rowena, who was taken in by Ella--are threatened by Linda, who makes her intentions to cut them off quite clear. This isn't the best of the recent spate of Carlon novels--keeping track of the Forst family tree is a burden throughout--but Linda proves a fascinating character, and the outback setting is vividly portrayed. Jenny McLarin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific who-done-it Nov. 7 2003
Format:Hardcover
In the Australian Outback, once the fire was put out the mystery began as the body of a drifter is found amidst the ashes. The victim did not die from the fire, but instead appears to have been murdered. The last person known to speak to this "swagger" is Nurse Linda Condrick, who recently arrived to care for the Leumeah Valley Sheep Station's aging matriarch, Ella Forst. Those residing at the station including the extended Forst family believe Linda killed the victim.
Ella's grandson Gregory chooses Linda to be his wife. However, not long after his announcement, Ella dies with her grandson inheriting everything; other family members are penniless though this obsequious lot lived off the charity of the deceased. Already under suspicion for killing the stranger, the Forst family feels that Linda also murdered Ella. That is everyone except an apparent besotted Gregory and orphaned teenager Rowena Searle. Inspector Quince investigates using Rowena to help him learn the truth about Linda including whether she is the culprit in either or both deaths?
WHO ARE YOU, LINDA CONDRICK was first published over forty years ago; yet in spite of technological advances especially in identification and forensics, the murder mystery remains fresh as the audience reads from start to finish in one sitting to obtain the answer to that title question. The story line effortlessly moves the reader back and forth between no reasonable doubts that Linda is a killer to total belief in her innocence. The entire ensemble come across as real and in turn enables the audience to understand life on an Outback Sheep Station while enhancing the terrific who-done-it.
Harriet Klausner
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4.0 out of 5 stars A suspenseful, twisted mystery Feb. 25 2003
Format:Hardcover
In the little Australia outback community of Leumeah Valley, Linda Condrick is the only stranger. First brought into the community to nurse Gregory Forst's aging grandmother, Linda has stayed on after the old woman's sudden death and is now engaged to be married to Gregory himself. And there the trouble lies, because Mrs. Forst left the valley and every penny in it to Gregory, and as soon as Linda gets her hands on this fortune, she intends to turn the other occupants of the valley out on their own. No wonder they hate her. No wonder they wish she was gone. No wonder, when after a fire has raged through the outback and the body of a swaggie (drifter) is found in its remains, Linda gets the blame. She was the person who sent him to help fight the fire, wasn't she? And why was she later seen over by the gully where he died? Soon two policemen from the city arrive and the questions begin. No one escapes Inspector Quince's affable but searching investigation -- not Linda, not Gregory, not any of the other married or intermarried relatives living with them; Diana, Billy, Hudson, Marcia, Wilma, and last but definitely not least, Rowena, the sixteen-year-old girl brought into the family as a toddler, now the narrator of this story. From the start suspicion rests on Linda, and the twists and turns along the way don't help her any. Who is she? And what has she done?
Interestingly enough, WHO ARE YOU, LINDA CONDRICK? was originally published in Great Britian in 1962. I don't know why it took 40 years for this novel to reach the U.S. It is cleanly written and fast paced, laced with ever increasing tension and padded with clues that give the reader much to contemplate without ever revealing the totally surprising ending. But -- that ending.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific who-done-it Nov. 7 2003
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In the Australian Outback, once the fire was put out the mystery began as the body of a drifter is found amidst the ashes. The victim did not die from the fire, but instead appears to have been murdered. The last person known to speak to this "swagger" is Nurse Linda Condrick, who recently arrived to care for the Leumeah Valley Sheep Station's aging matriarch, Ella Forst. Those residing at the station including the extended Forst family believe Linda killed the victim.
Ella's grandson Gregory chooses Linda to be his wife. However, not long after his announcement, Ella dies with her grandson inheriting everything; other family members are penniless though this obsequious lot lived off the charity of the deceased. Already under suspicion for killing the stranger, the Forst family feels that Linda also murdered Ella. That is everyone except an apparent besotted Gregory and orphaned teenager Rowena Searle. Inspector Quince investigates using Rowena to help him learn the truth about Linda including whether she is the culprit in either or both deaths?
WHO ARE YOU, LINDA CONDRICK was first published over forty years ago; yet in spite of technological advances especially in identification and forensics, the murder mystery remains fresh as the audience reads from start to finish in one sitting to obtain the answer to that title question. The story line effortlessly moves the reader back and forth between no reasonable doubts that Linda is a killer to total belief in her innocence. The entire ensemble come across as real and in turn enables the audience to understand life on an Outback Sheep Station while enhancing the terrific who-done-it.
Harriet Klausner
4.0 out of 5 stars A suspenseful, twisted mystery Feb. 25 2003
By Anna Klein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In the little Australia outback community of Leumeah Valley, Linda Condrick is the only stranger. First brought into the community to nurse Gregory Forst's aging grandmother, Linda has stayed on after the old woman's sudden death and is now engaged to be married to Gregory himself. And there the trouble lies, because Mrs. Forst left the valley and every penny in it to Gregory, and as soon as Linda gets her hands on this fortune, she intends to turn the other occupants of the valley out on their own. No wonder they hate her. No wonder they wish she was gone. No wonder, when after a fire has raged through the outback and the body of a swaggie (drifter) is found in its remains, Linda gets the blame. She was the person who sent him to help fight the fire, wasn't she? And why was she later seen over by the gully where he died? Soon two policemen from the city arrive and the questions begin. No one escapes Inspector Quince's affable but searching investigation -- not Linda, not Gregory, not any of the other married or intermarried relatives living with them; Diana, Billy, Hudson, Marcia, Wilma, and last but definitely not least, Rowena, the sixteen-year-old girl brought into the family as a toddler, now the narrator of this story. From the start suspicion rests on Linda, and the twists and turns along the way don't help her any. Who is she? And what has she done?
Interestingly enough, WHO ARE YOU, LINDA CONDRICK? was originally published in Great Britian in 1962. I don't know why it took 40 years for this novel to reach the U.S. It is cleanly written and fast paced, laced with ever increasing tension and padded with clues that give the reader much to contemplate without ever revealing the totally surprising ending. But -- that ending. I intend to read this book over again in a few days and perhaps that will change my opinion, but while during the first reading I was hooked in the first chapter and steadily reeled in throughout the entire short book (190 pages), the last chapter left me with a spinning head and a lot of questions. Yes, the mystery is unraveled perfectly, the characters well drawn, and the prose solid, but I could have done with more explanations.
My small criticisms aside, WHO ARE YOU, LINDA CONDRICK? is a compelling novel that is sure to satisfy fans of taut, fast paced, and well characterized little mysteries.
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