Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for A final reckoning
A final reckoning
First World Publication ed.
Publication Information:
Sutton, Surrey, England : Severn House Publishers, 2013.
Physical Description:
236 pages ; 23 cm
13-year-old Chantal Frazer's carefree childhood came to an end the day her sister Sabine was murdered in shocking and tragic circumstances while working as an au pair for the wealthy Palliser family in their beautiful Cotswolds home. 23 years later, Chantal visits Weston Lodge, now converted into a luxury hotel, to attempt to find some answers. What really happened that terrible night? What is the truth about the Pallisers' troubled family history? As Chantal questions those who were there at the time, she discovers matters weren't quite as straightforward as she'd been led to believe - and that someone is prepared to go to desperate lengths to ensure the truth remains hidden.
Geographic Term:


Call Number

On Order



Chantal Frazer has come to Westerby Lodge in the Cotswolds to find some answers about the murder of her sister, twenty-three years before. What really happened that terrible night when the wealthy Mrs Palliser was said to have gone beserk and stabbed her two sons to death, as well as their au pair, Chantal's sister Sabine? As Chantal questions those who were there at the time, she discovers matters weren't quite as staightforward as she'd been led to believe - and that someone is prepared to go to desperate lengths to ensure the truth remains hidden.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Chantal Frazer, the heroine of this spine-tingling thriller from Moody (Dancing in the Dark), has existed in a strange limbo since age 12, when her adored older sister, Sabine, was brutally slain while working as an au pair at Weston Lodge in the Cotswolds, along with her charges, 12-year-old George and 13-year-old Edward Palliser. The Honorable Clio Palliser, the boys' allegedly mentally unstable mother, was convicted of the murders. A native Californian, Chantal went on to study art history at Pomona College like Sabine, and fulfill her sister's dream career of working as an art expert at a London auction house. Now, 23 years after Sabine's death, she discovers that Weston Lodge is being converted into an upscale hotel. On a vacation there, Chantal meets various people who knew her sister and the Palliser family, but, as she probes deeper into old horrors, realizes that she may be putting her own life at risk. The hideous and long-buried truth will catch most readers by surprise. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

A woman desperate for peace of mind looks for it in an unlikely place--the English country house where her sister was murdered. When Chantal Frazer arrives at the luxurious Weston Lodge in Oxfordshire, it's not to enjoy a resort getaway but to be where her sister Sabine had worked as an au pair when the Lodge was a private home. Twenty-three years earlier, the Honorable Clio Palliser, Sabine's employer and then-owner of Weston Lodge, was arrested for stabbing her two sons and Sabine to death. Gavin Metcalfe-Vaughn, a young friend of one of the sons, managed to escape. Now, he's also come to the Lodge in its new incarnation. While the recently widowed Chantal is seeking answers about that bloody night, she falls in love with Gavin. After his initial visit to the Lodge, Gavin wants Chantal to let the past stay past. But she can't dismiss the persistent notion that the unhappy Clio, who disappeared after serving her sentence in a high-security mental hospital, is innocent. Both of Clio's husbands and some valuable works of art are missing as well. In her obsessive search for answers about her sister's death, Chantal will also encounter a secondhand lover, a determined detective and an addled neighbor, as convolution follows convolution en route to an implausible resolution of past and present secrets. Moody (Loose Ends, 2013, etc.) knows how to build suspense, but it's hard not to keep yelling "don't go there" at the drippy heroine in this overwrought thriller.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Two decades ago, two brothers and their nanny were brutally hacked to death. A third boy, a family friend, got away. Based on his testimony, the brothers' mother, Clio Palliser, was convicted of the horrifying crime. The family of the nanny, Sabine Monroe, has never recovered from her tragic death. Now her sister, Chantal, reads that a luxury hotel has opened in Westerby Lodge, the British country estate where the murders occurred. Repelled yet curious, Chantal books a weekend at the hotel. She soon learns that several of her fellow guests were also affected by the tragedy: Brian Stonor, the policeman who investigated the crime; Sabine's boyfriend, Malcolm; the neighbor who raised the alarm; and, shockingly, Gavin Vaughn, the boy who escaped. After speaking with the others, Chantal finds herself questioning whether Clio was the killer after all. Little does Chantal know that her determination to find the truth about her sister's murder will lead to another horrifying near-tragedy. Compelling, suspenseful, gruesome, and frightening, this page-turner is only slightly disappointing in that it will be obvious to mystery buffs whodunit; only Chantal seems oblivious until it's almost too late.--Melton, Emily Copyright 2010 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Chantal Frazer's life was upended when her older sister Sabine, who was working as an au pair for a wealthy British family, was murdered in a brutal attack that also claimed three young victims. The children's mother was convicted of the crime and sent to a mental hospital; another child survived and went on to live "normally." Now, two decades later, Chantal is inexplicably drawn back to the haunted home that recently has been transformed into a beautiful boutique hotel. Chantal wants to understand her sister's plight better. Surprisingly, Gavin Vaughn, the survivor, comes back to visit at the hotel's grand opening, along with other key players from that sad page in the home's history. As in all good gothic thrillers, suspicions hover, the house holds clues, and Chantal makes some dangerous choices. VERDICT Moody's (Losing Nicola) stunningly gothic psychological stand-alone mesmerizes from page one. Bring out your art history notes so you can keep pace with the clues in this intricately structured romantic suspense title. Readers may figure out the real story before the heroine does, but just knowing the endearing Chantal is in danger makes for an addictive read. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.