The Trouble-Makers (1963) was Celia Fremlin’s fourth novel and – as Chris Simmons contends in his new preface to this Faber Finds edition – has a case to be considered among her very best.
Katharine is a suburban housewife, desultorily unemployed, unhappily married, struggling to keep up appearances but consoled to some degree by the even more aggravated woes of her next-door neighbour Mary – until, that is, Katharine is brought to the disturbing realisation that Mary’s predicament is in fact substantially worse.
The tension mounts slowly…as [Fremlin] gradually layers on the atmosphere of suspense and intrigue – leading to a dazzling and cathartic denouement…I believe [The Trouble Makers] is one of [Fremlins] best. CrimeSquad.com
‘A cleverly devised story. A chorus of nicely-characterised suburban wives speculate on Mary’s troubles. Fremlin builds up the whole thing into a crescendo of horror.’ Sunday Times
‘One again Fremlin shows how incomparably more chilling is her quiet, semifactual style than some of the hysterical sentimentalities from Over the Water.’ Guardian