Gatecrasher

Madeleine Wickham, Author
Madeleine Wickham, Author Thomas Dunne Books $23.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-24398-2
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4299-8634-2
Compact Disc - 304 pages - 978-1-4272-0437-0
Paperback - 313 pages - 978-0-312-38107-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 296 pages - 978-0-312-97864-8
Paperback - 396 pages - 978-1-4299-4309-3
Hardcover - 296 pages - 978-0-312-36127-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 330 pages - 978-0-312-36608-7
Paperback - 313 pages - 978-1-250-02435-0
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4464-2393-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-1754-7
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-1-4074-0050-1
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""Money is safety, darling,"" the delightfully wicked funeral crasher Fleur Daxeny advises her 13-year-old daughter after an almost perfect execution of her best skill: swindling wealthy widowers. In this modern-day novel of manners, Wickham's lively prose needles the British upper class with a mixture of suspense and wit. Armed with a closet full of designer black suits, the daily obituaries and a face that never betrays her 40 years, Fleur invades the funerals of the wealthy, enchantingly rich, grieving new widowers in need of a shoulder to cry on. She attends the memorial service of Emily Favour, whom she pretends was a long-lost acquaintance, and promptly lures the good-hearted Richard Favour into her web. Although his troubled daughter, Phillipa, and her crafty husband, Lambert, suspect serious gold digging, Fleur's beauty and charm dazzle them, and soon she's invited to live at the family estate in Surrey. What Fleur finds there is a gate-crasher's dream--a welcoming family, an accessible Gold Card and, after some snooping, a bank account worth millions. Even when Fleur's daughter, Zara, whom Fleur has neglected to mention, arrives unexpectedly from boarding school, the Favours make no fuss, welcoming the teen into the fold. As Fleur and Zara become comfortable with country club life, Fleur learns that she's not the only one scheming for Richard's money, and that Richard might not be as gullible as she thinks. But with Zara finally enjoying the stability of a real home, can Fleur leave so easily this time? Wickham (Swimming Pool Sunday) creates memorable characters who are as unpredictable and multifaceted as they are stylish. While the quick wrapup misses a cue, this novel is still jolly fun. (May)
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