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Fran Varady Books In Order

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Publication Order of Fran Varady Books

Asking for Trouble (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Keeping Bad Company (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Running Scared (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Risking It All (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Watching Out (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mixing with Murder (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rattling the Bones (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon

Fran Varady is the lead character in a series of mystery novels written by the British author of mystery and thriller novels, Ann Granger. Fran
Varady is out of work actress turned private investigator based in London, England. Ann Granger began publication of Fran Varady series in 1997 when Asking for Trouble was published and lasted seven novels concluding in 2007 when Rattling the Bones was published.

Asking For Trouble

Asking for Trouble is the first novel in Fran Varady series. After writing a couple of books in Mitchell and Markby series featuring detective Alan Markby and his fiancé Meredith Mitchell, Ann Granger wrote a detective novel series almost in a completely different tone and background as well. Her main character, Fran Varady is about to be kicked out of her condemned building in which she is squatting when one of her friends in vthe building is found dead, hanging from her room’s light fitting.

At first, it is assumed that her death was suicide, but it soon becomes clear that she was murdered. Fran starts investigating into the murder, one because she suspects that her fellow squatters are the main suspects and secondly because the relatives of the dead girl request her to do so. Fran Varady is not at all like their presumptions of a squatter, she is well educated, well-spoken and from a good background, and she is neither an alcoholic nor a drug addict.

This is what brings us to the heart of the story, which has to do with the real and true nature of those who live in what many of us know as the British underclass. None of Fran Varady friends where particularly unusual but they were all normal people, who for one reason or another ended up being squatters. Asking for Trouble takes a unique angle amongst of the many detective stories about people who live in this type of background- in that it portrays the squatters as not being stereotypes. On the other hand, the cops are not attacked either, the primary reasons being that they come over in a bad light being institutional bureaucracy- they are ill-equipped to deal with the somewhat unofficial lifestyle of the squatters.

In most cases, crime novels often focus on the right-wing view of the world where squatters or homeless or the new age travelers are considered to be depraved addicts while policemen are regarded as the guardians of virtue. But Ann Granger makes the squatters normal and imperfect people.

Risking It All

One could safely assume that Ann Granger’s life working with Diplomatic Service gave her valuable detail in writing her Fran Varady series the moment she discarded writing historical romance and armed with a pen to the benefit of the mystery and thriller genre.

Fran Varady lost her temporary refuge after her flat was flooded and her landlady’s unwelcoming nephews evicted her from the house. Now she seeks refuge down in Hari’s garage, where Hari and Ganesh can keep a watchful eye on her despite the disapprobation of the rest of the family members.

Then a private
detective, one who takes his professional responsibilities far more than his clients would have wished locates Fran for the woman who deserted her a decade and a half earlier. Fran goes to visit the woman, and the shock of finding the woman she had thought was dead is significantly increased when she discovers that her mother is dying. Stumbling on these shocking surprises, Fran is also torn down when she is also informed that she has a 13-year-old half-sister who has been adopted illegally. To near disbelief, Fran agrees to her mother’s request to locate formerly known by the name Miranda but now called Nicola. Not long, the seedy private detective is found killed just outside of where Fran is staying in Hari’s garage, and more killings are discovered and attempted.

Policewoman Janice Morgan, introduced in the earlier novel reappears. While she is sympathetic with Fran, this does not make her not to harass Fran in an attempt to locate the killer. However, Fran’s promise to her mother prevents her from disclosing what is going on to Morgan or her friend Ganesh.

Risking It All is an exciting installment featuring delightful characters, thanks to Ann Granger for her deft touch with characterization. Hari is a true delight, and the readers will feel sympathy for Ganesh as he tries to protect the uncooperative and stubborn Fran. Additionally, Fran is quite an entertaining heroine with her own shortcomings as well. The mystery in the book is excellent, well-crafted and there is an abundance of humor while the action is sufficient.

Watching Out

Fran Varady has got a job, a home and a lead part in The Hound of the Baskervilles, the current production at Fran’s local bar, where thelandlord, Freddy is inordinately proud of his record as a theatrical businessman.

However, all is not positive as it sounds, as rehearsals are not going well as expected, Ganesh is not entirely keen on his part as Dr. Watson, and he’s less keen when he discovers that a real dog is to be a part of his proceedings.

Fran’s new job at the new Pizzeria San Gennaro, formerly known as Hot Spud Café is causing her to have some unease; however, she cannot quite put her finger on the cause of her unease. Reekie Jimmie owner of the Hot Spud Café has retained his job as the new manager of Pizzeria San Gennaro, but he doesn’t seem to do anything. The café food is good, and the business seems to be doing well, but it doesn’t quite click with Fran. But it’s not enough for her to leave and accept an offer by Susie Duke to join Duke’s Detective Agency. But she agrees to driving lessons but with disastrous consequences.

When a young man comes knocking at the Pizzeria demanding to see Max, Fran is shocked as there is no one by that name on the premises, but the boy is confident that he has seen Max there and not as a customer. Fran agrees to help the boy, but before she completes her investigation, she witnesses a brutal murder and then finds herself hunted by hazardous people. But what connection exists between the Pizzeria, Max and the mysterious lad?

Watching Out, the fifth book in Fran Varady series by Ann Granger is a refreshing read, with believable characters, lots of humor and well-woven plotline.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Fran Varady

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