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3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  163 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
With a combination of emotional power, evocative prose, and provocative plot, Clare Francis presents the story of a woman coping with unsettling questions and secrets from the past after her husband disappears at sea-a thriller that will draw readers in and keep them turning page after tantalizing page.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 4th 2003 by Berkley Trade (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 325)
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Dec 30, 2012 RickyB rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 19, 2016 Suzanne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Terrible book. I couldn't get into it. I stopped and started it In different places and tried but it was terrible.
Bev Taylor
May 20, 2014 Bev Taylor rated it really liked it
harry richmond has lost it all - his job as an mp, business problems, money matters and even family

he goes off in his yacht and disappears. is he head? if so was it natural causes, suicide or even murder?

ellen, his wife is left to pick up the pieces with their 2 children but what secrets does the past hold?

i realised quite early on how this was going to pan out but there were still a few twists.

h/e a gaping hole (excuse the pun)- the knife would would have been found in the autopsy

Kathleen Hagen
Deceit, by Clare Francis, B-plus, narrated by Frances Tomelty, produced by BBC-WW audio, downloaded from

This is a book that started slowly. It was hard for me to get into it, or to accept Ellen’s constant backing down to her husband’s ruthless and selfish relatives. She seemed too meek and mild to live. The other unfortunate factor about this book was the narrator, Frances Tomelty. She would whisper large sections of Ellen’s thoughts in a dramatic voice which could barely be heard.
James Marinero
Dec 09, 2011 James Marinero rated it really liked it
Slow to get into - I have difficulty with some authors who take so long to describe a scene. was very well written and the plot had some good turns. The technique and POV was very interesting, telling a historical story in the present tense (most of the time). Good suspense, and not many holes - I'm a sailor - not up to her illustrious standard, but it was a good tale told with deep knowledge of the subject. By 2/3 way through it was grabbing me. I learned a lot about technique. Nearer ...more
Dec 18, 2010 Tony rated it it was ok
I am over halfway through and still waiting for it to get exciting. Yes, I am intrigued at how the various characters will knit together but why does she take so long to write a conversation? Why the need to describe every expression and thought of the speaker?
The back cover says this is Francis' best novel yet - well I won't be reading the others.
Forced my way through to the unsurprising end. The overall story was fairly good just painful to read Francis' writing style.
Elizabeth Bailey
This was a brilliant page-turning read. I couldn't put it down and I was impressed with the background knowledge until I took in that Francis was the same one who had done solo yachting! Still impressive. More so was the twists and turns that had me wondering all the way through how things were going to turn out. A very clever and fascinating story, well written, full of atmospheric emotive stuff.
Ahmed Allala
The only reason I'm giving this book 2 stars is because the plot twist at the end is very interesting, unexpected. It could have been better if it was 200 pages shorter because Francis literally describes everything and anything to the point where it has become annoying. Besides, the story progresses veeeery slowly. Things start to only get interesting after the page 220.
Keith Bennett
Jul 27, 2013 Keith Bennett rated it really liked it
I really liked this in the end. For much of the first half, I didn't find myself feeling particularly sympathetic towards the narrator, and the plot seemed to be running along generally predictable lines. But it gradually became clearer that there was something else going on, and I warmed to both narrator and the plot. Gripping by the end.
Mar 15, 2009 Debra rated it it was amazing
I just finished this wonderful book and I loved it. It is a mystery but the reader doesn't know who are the bad guys and who are the good guys for the entire book. Oh my gosh! All kinds of false clues and half truths and hidden meanings and misunderstood lines from all the characters. What a fun ride!
Jul 23, 2011 Ruth rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
c1993. I agree with the blurb from the Daily Mail "'Ms Francis's talent for characterization works especially well with Ellen's traumatized children, and the plot has as many twists as a nautical knot."
The author's yachting background is well used in this book.
Sep 04, 2013 Katherine rated it liked it
It wasn't bad, I felt like I already knew what was going to happen and even though there was a slight twist at the end I still felt like I was disappointed from about halfway through as I thought I had figured out what had happened.
Mar 13, 2009 Clare rated it liked it
I enjoyed this as much as other Clare Francis novels, but having read 3 or 4 on tthe trot I've got a bit sick of rich folks on boats. Still, if you don't want to have to use much of your brain it's a damn good read.
Sep 13, 2013 Ben rated it really liked it
She has a lovely way of letting the story gradually develop and unfold. The story just seems to naturally evolve and that makes it feel very real. I really enjoyed and wonder if her other books are also this good.
Katie Kenig
Jan 28, 2008 Katie Kenig rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
This is one of the best examples of the unreliable narrator in modern fiction that I've found. Truly a fantastically twisted bit of fiction that is worth a read.
Mike Pouy
Mar 27, 2008 Mike Pouy rated it really liked it
Very different from Clare Francis' spy thrillers, this is a personal story of a woman struggling to cope after her husband and his sailboat disappear.
Ruth Jalfon
light mystery. not normally my thing but readable with the odd surprise but nothing wow. book way longer than it needed to be. between 2-3 stars.
Ashlea Stark
Dec 17, 2013 Ashlea Stark rated it liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable
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