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Almost A Crime

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  1,208 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
Another classic from the queen of the blockbuster novel.

Tom and Octavia Fleming have the perfect power marriage: he is a spin-doctor and she runs a consultancy to the charity industry. They are attractive, rich, successful...Then Octavia discovers Tom is having an affair and not only the discovery but the affair itself have consequences that are potentially fatal - both to
Published January 25th 2007 by Headline Review (first published December 1st 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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I think I smiled throughout the entire million-page duration of this book. Rich people having affairs! Baby abductions! Evil best friends! Every five pages, someone bursts into tears; every ten pages, someone chokes down a glass of expensive champagne; and every twenty pages, someone insists that she can't possibly continue this conversation, as it's making her feel quite ill (the vast messy soap opera is narrated in the Queen's English). In short, I can't imagine a novel more perfect for slight ...more
Aug 05, 2008 Jennie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a follow up to her trilogy to the Lytton family, I have to admit that I am pleasantly surprised. I fell immediately in love with the Lytton dynasty (No Angel being an absolute delight), so I was slightly nervous going into "Almost a Crime," afraid it would not live up to my expectations, having become so smitten with her previous work. Once again, I am smitten! Somehow, Vincenzi manages to write characters who live glamorous, wealthy, extravagant, successful existences, yet, when it comes to ...more
Jan 19, 2012 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tom and Octavia Fleming are described by the media as a power couple. Attractive, wealthy, and poised on the cusp of a glorious future, neither of them is at all prepared for the events that blindside them.

Seemingly out of nowhere, an affair between Tom and a woman he refuses to name, catapults the two of them into a series of horrific scenarios that impact their personal and business lives.

"Almost a Crime" is a richly textured tale that feels as though it encompasses a vast period of time, but
Jess Chambers
Oct 12, 2011 Jess Chambers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tom and Octavia Fleming have what the media likes to call a “power marriage”. As well as having three children, they run their own highly successful companies and are always ready to share their individual expertise to help the other. They’re portrayed in the press as the perfect modern couple, and are much sought after at public functions for the glamour that surrounds them. If, perhaps, they don’t get to spend enough quality time either with one another or their children, the rewards make the ...more
Jan 22, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c20th, britain
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 10, 2008 Lindsay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm very surprised I managed to get through all 817 pages of this. I wanted to hit all the characters in the book who, although believable, were shallow, stupid and self-absorbed, and I found it difficult to care what happened to them, let alone like anyone (including any of the minor characters). The story wandered around, with little suspense, barely reaching a point, and had an unsatisfactory ending (although admittedly, I'd probably only be satisfied if everyone in the book died).
Mar 19, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Story about a power couple with 3 kids. Both parents successful and busy. The husband has an affair with the woman's best friend who appears to be quite mad. She even kidnaps their youngest child after the affair is ended. All the people around this couple and their characters are all quite interesting. An unputdownable book if it was not so thick.
Aug 21, 2011 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Penny Vicenzi always writes such entertaining books. However, "Amost a Crime" is too much. Or in this case, too many: Too many plots going on, too many coincidences, and way, way too many women who ending up "in a flood of tears."

Jun 23, 2011 Mimi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A big, fat soap opera type book. It had some involving plot lines but felt overwritten. There were too many business discussions in the beginning that started to bore me. The characters were realistic and flawed. It was good enough for me to give the author another try.
Kathy Duncan
Jun 29, 2015 Kathy Duncan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bad-girls
The book is not almost a crime; it is an absolute crime against good writing. The characters are wooden and vapid; their lives uninteresting and boring. They cheat on each other and ignore their children. In the end, I was rooting for the crazy best friend to do in Octavia and keep her child.
Rosemary Morris
Oct 29, 2016 Rosemary Morris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Almost A Crime by Penny Vincenzi

I am one of Vincenzi’s many fans. I thought I had read all the novels that she has written. So, when I realised I had not read Almost a Crime I was delighted and began it with great expectations, which were justified.

With ease, Vincenzi controls a large cast of interesting characters.

At the heart of this novel is a father who adores his daughter, Octavia, tries to control her and dislikes her husband, Tom Fleming.

At the beginning, it seems Octavia, who is a part
Peri Schacknow
Meh. Rounding down from 2 1/2. I liked it well enough as escapist soap opera, but far from my favorite Penny Vincenzi book, who has many better examples of the genre. These characters were tough to get to know, tough to care about, and I was never entirely sure who to root for. Bad behavior all around and a few too many implausibilities to swallow.
Allison Ann
Oct 21, 2016 Allison Ann rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I was rooting for everyone to die by the end.
Dec 03, 2016 Peg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Vincenzi saga that holds your interest through 600 plus pages!
Review for the abridged audiobook.

736 pages is a daunting size for a book, so it seemed like a good idea to listen to the abridged audiobook version - and it didn't leave me feeling that I wanted to go back and read the book to fill in all the detail, as I sometimes do for something I've really enjoyed. It was well read by Laura Brattan, but I did lose track of some of the many characters and it's hard to trace back to find who people are on a CD. From other reviewers, I realise that the book te
Brittany Johnson
For this review and more, please visit

This book was quite a time investment. At over 600 pages and with small font, there was a lot of story to devour, but it was all worth it.

My favorite thing about this book is that there are no supporting characters. Each character is a main character. While the blurb leads the reader to think the focus is on Octavia and Tom, this doesn't always ring true. Often other characters' tales are so entwined that they, too, be
Sep 04, 2012 Stella rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had previously read The Spoils of Time trilogy, though some time ago. But I remember quite liking them and when I found this thought I'd give it a go. However I could never really get to grips with it.

The characters seemed rather one dimensional, with none of them particularly likable. Now I don't mind 'unlikeable' characters, in fact thay can be quite intriguing, but here they just seem like cyphers in order to tell a well worn story.

The central character Octavia Fleming is mother of three
Apr 10, 2012 Jacqueline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ive been a bit disapointed with some of the penny vincenzi books ive read lately so when i picked this one up i was a bit apprehensive - but despite a slow start where i felt i couldnt warm to any of the characters i ended up really enjoying this book!i like a good story with characters that are realistically flawed and three dimensional, and this book had all those things,i was impressed with the way louise was portrayed, and octavias father was an interesting (and detestable!) character aswell ...more
Heather L T
Dec 24, 2015 Heather L T rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Favourite quote:

He had put her into a taxi, apologised for not being able to escort her in it back to Eaton Square - he had an urgent meeting. Thank God for that, thought Marianne. Her mother had talked laughingly about men in her youth who were labelled NSIT - Not Safe In Taxis. She wouldn’t be at all safe in a taxi herself, with Nico Cadogan, the state she was in; she would have been hard pressed not to make the first move and start kissing him. It was an event that must not be repeated. Much
Jan 17, 2013 Gabby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, chick-lit
I didn't realize this author is a Danielle Steele clone until I'd read about 50 pages. Originally I mistook her for a writer more similar to Olivia Goldsmith whose books I've really enjoyed. What put me off about this book was the obvious in-your-face formulaic pattern of the story telling. There weren't any surprises,nor was there any suspense about what outcome awaited each of the characters. It was all very predictable, but what did surprise me was that even though the length of the book was ...more
Jan 04, 2008 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alison by: Joann
As my Aunt Joann said this book is amazingly written, but poorly plotted.This might bother some people, but I got so caught up in the seemless prose and character development which jumped from character to character within an upper class social circle in London. I read it in about two days it was so enthralling (no small feat for a 600 page book). It has romance, children, infedility ect. And parts of it managed to surprise me, but then again I was surprised by the ending of "Win a Date with Tad ...more
Vlady Peters
Oct 26, 2015 Vlady Peters rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If this was an opera, it would be a melodrama. If it was a film, it would be 'The Perils of Pauline'. Tension never lets up.

For readers, it's a great page-turner full of conspiracies, duplicities, misunderstandings and crisis.

For the would-be author, it's a blue print for keeping readers on the edge of their seats through a very, very long book.

Moody Claire
It took me a very, very long time to finish the book "Almost a Crime by Penny Vincenzi". Too many words and plots all in one book. I did love the ending. I wasn't expecting that the story would end that way but I was happy it ended like that.

All in all, it was a good book. Not that great for me but good.
Kristin Strong
Jul 31, 2012 Kristin Strong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little on the wishy-washy side with the protagonist's relationship with her husband. Ditch him or don't, okay? I don't have a lot of patience for this hot/cold stuff. Other than that, this is a good Penny Vincenzi novel. Sharp dialogue, decent plotting (except that it's never really explained how or why the affair at the heart of it all began)'s a good summer read.
Caroline G'wattage
First book l have read from Penny Vincenzi and honestly it's not going to be the last.
l was overwhelmed with the length of the book, but started reading it was a page turner, not wanting the book to end.
It's Soap Opera Paradise, loved the storyline, fell in love with the characters.

This is a MUST READ!

It's full of gossip, glamour, romance, and a rattling plot at the end.

Kathleen Resendes
Jul 27, 2015 Kathleen Resendes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read. If it were lighter in weight it could be a beach read.
Written well, story moved along at a good clip. Characters were thoroughly developed. Enjoyed it a great deal. Walking in the shoes of
the rich, powerful and kind of famous is always a treat.
Mar 24, 2009 Holly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sorry...don't judge a book by it's cover. I don't know anything about the author, but this is pure English drama. It's like watching a BBC drama; you want to change the channel when it gets bad, but you just can't. Besides, this is a good type of read in between intense books.
While written in Vincenzi's graceful elegant style, about the fancy people of London, this one wasn't her best. The plot endlessly dragged on for most of it, endlessly going in circles about the same themes, Octavia was barely likable, hugely indecisive. My favorite character was Marianne.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2011 Penny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting but not as good as the first one I read by this author. I guess I was expecting more.
A power marriage has problems from a too possessive wife's father and an affair by the husband to the wife's best friend from college. All ends well though.
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  • Faith
  • Bad Girls Good Women
  • Anyone but Him
  • Divided Loyalties
  • Fifteen Bones
  • Liar's Market
  • Octavia
  • The Hornbeam Tree
  • Lovers and Liars
  • Lethal Lies
  • Dynasty Of Death (Barbours/Bouchards, #1)
  • She May Not Leave
  • Year of the Virgins
  • Beautiful People
I'm currently taking part in a Q&A Group here on Goodreads to discuss my latest novel, Sheer Abandon . To post questions, please visit: I look forward to an active discussion together.

I was nine years old when I embarked on my storytelling career. I wrote my own magazine called “Stories”, which I copied out three times on carbon paper and sold for two
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