Written by Nicci French — Frieda Klein is a most unusual heroine. It’s not that she goes looking for trouble, rather than it seems to come and find her. As Waiting For Wednesday opens, psychotherapist Frieda has been sidelined from police work, and is happy to enjoy her own tranquil company while recovering from the near death experiences of her previous novel outing, Tuesday’s Gone. Some chance!
Across London, in an ordinary suburban house, an ordinary suburban mum has been brutally murdered. Ruth Lennox was a devoted wife and mother, good at her job, kind to her neighbours and loved by her friends – so who on earth would want to bludgeon her to death? As DCI Mal Karlsson begins to slot the pieces together, a picture emerges of a woman not as whiter-than-white as she first appeared. Could the murderer be the man with whom she’s carried out a secret affair for 10 years? Her husband? Or even her lover’s wronged wife? The suspects appear from every corner and Karlsson and his team have their work cut out to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Looking forward to nothing more complicated than a walk and a long, hot, bath, Frieda is pulled into the case in a roundabout fashion – and soon her dreams of a quiet life are in tatters. Family problems bring her troubled niece Chloe to stay ‘for a few days’, and close behind Chloe is Ted Lennox, a school friend who just happens to be son of the murdered Ruth. Soon, all of the Lennox children are finding solace with Frieda, much to the consternation of the police investigators… and to Frieda herself. To top it all, her beloved bathroom is upside down and out of action, due to the ministrations of good friend Josef, who wants to give Frieda the sanctuary she craves, but keeps finding problems with the plumbing. Can nothing go right for Frieda?
As if all that isn’t enough to keep the reader interested, we are treated to a side story about a washed-up journalist whose campaign to free a man wrongly accused of murder has finally come good. An innocent man is released from jail, but reporter Jim Fearby is haunted by the fact that the murderer of a young girl is still free. So he is determined to bring the killer to justice. A chance meeting with Frieda convinces the pair to pool their resources, but with disastrous consequences.
Nicci French is the pseudonym for husband and wife writing partnership of journalists Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, and Waiting for Wednesday is the third in a series of eight books featuring Frieda Klein. It’s the first one I’ve read, and she is a fascinating character. I’ll certainly catch up with the previous books.
In the previous novels, Frieda was at the heart of the police investigation. This time she is persona non grata with the powers that be, and has been denounced as a charlatan by rival Professor Hal Bradshaw – but Karlsson still craves her help. She is reluctant to get involved, although fate has other ideas.
Frieda is a veritable oasis of calm when all around her is in chaos, although sometimes that composure slips and we see a very different woman. I like her a lot and marvelled at the way her story is developed throughout the novel. Waiting for Wednesday is an excellent read, with enough twists and turns to satisfy the most demanding of crime fiction lovers. Add it to your ‘to be read’ list immediately – it’s released on 20 June.
CFL Rating: 4 Stars