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Waiting for Wednesday: A Frieda Klein Mystery    by Nicci French order for
Waiting for Wednesday
by Nicci French
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Waiting for Wednesday is the third (following Blue Monday and Tuesday's Gone) in this series starring London psychotherapist (and occasional investigator) Frieda Klein. It's written by the bestselling husband-and-wife team of journalists Nicci Gerrard and Sean French.

Unfortunately I missed reading Tuesday's Gone so had to guess some of the back story that left Frieda, at the beginning of this episode, recovering from an attack that almost killed her and left her in bad odor with senior police officials.

Frieda is a restless person, who roams the city endlessly, struggling with her own dark past. Over previous episodes she has won the respect and trust of DCI Malcolm Karlsson, but unfortunately not of his superiors, who insist on involving her nemesis, Dr. Hal Bradshaw, as a consultant in his latest case. Frieda 'had made him look stupid, and now he wanted to destroy her.'

Frieda's associates - her lover, Sandy, who wants her to follow him to the U.S.; her friend Sasha; her mentor Reuben; the colleague, Jack, whom she mentors; her sister Olivia and rebellious niece Chloe; and Ukrainian builder Josef - continue to enrich her life and add color to the story. There's also an element of horror as Frieda is stalked by Dean Reeve whom she unmasked as a child abductor and murderer.

This episode opens (on a Wednesday) as Dora Lennox returns from school to find her mother brutally murdered. Burglary? Dora, her father and two siblings are devastated. The dead woman's sister soon shows up to take charge, with 'that excited calm that some people get in an emergency'. Chloe is a friend of the victim's son and draws Frieda into the children's problems. And Karlsson pulls her into his case.

Investigators in mystery novels are often obsessive but with Frieda it's always taken to self-destructive limits, this case proving no exception to the rule. And she's not the only one this time - she ends up working with an obsessive journalist, Jim Fearby (seen by all as an 'old drunk hack'), who has long sought to prove the innocence of George Conley, sentenced to life imprisonment for the death of a teenager.

The authors pull all these plot threads together to deliver - as they always do - a complex, gripping mystery, filled with surprises and family secrets. Frieda not only solves the Lennox murder, but also, helped by Fearby, uncovers serial killings of missing girls of which the police were totally unaware. A Nicci French mystery is always well worth a read - don't miss Waiting for Wednesday.

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