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Francine Matthews Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Cut Out (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
As You Wish (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Time Will Tell (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Francine Matthews is an American writer of Mystery and Spy Fiction born in 1963

+Biography

Francine Matthews was the last of six girls. Born in Birmingham, New York, Francine’s father (a retired Air Force General) and mother (a beautiful dancer) often took their large family to Cape Cod for the summer.

Growing up in Washington, DC, Francine went to a centuries old catholic school called Georgetown Visitation Preparatory which shared a wall with Georgetown University. She would lose her father in her freshman year.

Princeton was her college of choice, which she attended in 1981. The college shaped and transformed Francine in ways she couldn’t have expected. She strived to enjoy as much of her time at Princeton as possible, this including joining the Fencing team.

Though, it was the work she did and the news stories she wrote for The Daily Princetonian that she will remember, seeing as the seemingly innocuous hobby influenced her journalistic sensibilities, probably driving the work she did for The Miami Herald and The San Jose Mercury News.

Francine Matthews always had a knack for history, majoring in European History while at Princeton; her particular area of interest was Napoleonic France, and she was adept enough at her studies that she eventually won the Arthur W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship.

Considering this accolade, you would expect history to be the primary driving factor of her studies and the career she pursued afterward; however, the one thing Francine Matthews remembers most vividly from her time in Princeton was the “Literature of Fact” course that was taught by John McPhee (Pulitzer Prize Winning author and New Yorker Writer).

No other individual or factor had as stark an impact on Francine as John McPhee’s teachings; they influenced every aspect of her life, especially her writing approach and abilities, and she has never been able to fully express in words what the course meant to her.

Francine Matthews has gone so far as to call John McPhee her god of craft.

Francine Matthews sought a doctorate in history from Stanford; however, she was unable to acquire it, failing to write her dissertation. However, she didn’t leave empty-handed, instead taking a Masters with her.

At some point, she made the decision to apply to the CIA. The prospect proved to be a little more challenging than she might have expected, Francine spending several months temping in Northern Virginia while the FBI dug out every nook of her life, questioning every person she had ever known or spoken to during her short life.

It wasn’t until she was 26 that Francine Matthews passed her polygraph test and began undertaking the Career Training program, a camp of sorts that took the best recruits the agency had and molded them as required.

Francine spent four years working as a CIA intelligence analyst, and she was hard pressed to find more profoundly fulfilling work.

She participated in a number of prolific operations, this including the investigation of the Bombing of the Pan AM Flight 103 by the Counterterrorism Center in 1988. She also had a chance to debrief ex-president George Bush in Houston in 1993.

Francine Matthews grew to love and respect the men and women of the CIA, and all the time and effort they injected into their craft. Francine’s work greatly influenced her writing. One need only read some of her books to see her experience littered throughout her writings.

+Literary Career

Francine Matthews has written both under her real name and under Stephanie Barron, a Pseudonym that combines her middle and maiden name. Her books, written under Francine Matthews, are primarily police procedures.

Economic issues are an essential facet of her work, even when she delves into Spy fiction and writes about the goings-on of the CIA and important work they do.

As Stephanie Barron, Matthews taps into her academic background as a historian to produce historical fiction. Many of Barron’s books have been structured as lost dairies that have merely been edited.

Francine’s first book was written in 1992, shortly before she left the agency. Francine likes to garden, ski, buy art and do needlepoint, this on top of writing.

+Death in the Off-Season

Rusty Mason, Scion of one of the oldest and richest families in Nantucket dies. When his body is discovered in a flooded cranberry bog, Detective Meredith Folger is charged with solving his murder, the 32-year-old’s first murder case.

Since his indictment for securities fraud, Rusty hasn’t been seen in the country for over ten years. His brother, and bog owner, Peter Mason shows little interest in Rusty’s death, probably because of the grudge he was nursing against him over a woman for the last decade.

Merry’s investigation reveals a decade-long tangle of betrayal, blackmail, and violence, Merry earning the trust of her community even as she fights tooth and nail against her attraction to Peter.

There are a lot of people that only know Francine Matthews for her historical thrillers and who are unaware of all the police procedurals she has written over the years. This one is set on Nantucket Island, and Francine’s descriptions really come to life, transporting readers’ minds to his scenic location.

The story digs dip into the history and genealogy of Nantucket, this while bringing to life an enigmatic, strong and smart protagonist in Meredith Abiah Folger. With great instincts and a good head on her shoulders, this book shows Merry fight to prove herself in a demanding community despite the actions of her overprotective father.

And the mystery is actually quite brilliant, with a number of curious interweaving plots.

+Dance in Rough Water

Merry Folger is drawn into a new murder before she can even recover from the first one. Her determination to prove to her father that she is a capable detective is tested when her friend enters the equation.

Upon returning to Nantucket, all anyone wants to know about Del Duarte is the parentage of her baby. The death of her father, an experienced fisherman who was swept overboard in a spring storm, is ruled an accident.

This is despite Del’s claims that it was murder. Merry chooses to investigate the crime despite her father’s orders; and she is quickly assaulted by a confusing tangle of fraud, murder, and revenge. Merry must choose between her obligation to her friend and her responsibilities to her father.

Francine Matthews really makes you feel like you are on Nantucket. The Clannish Islanders and Hordes of Day-Trippers really come to life. And the mystery is really wide in scope this time, raising the stakes surrounding Merry’s ability to solve the mystery even while shaking her personal life somewhat.

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