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Prisoner’s Base

Celia Fremlin’s sixth novel Prisoner’s Base (1967) served further proof of her mastery at uncovering anxieties and even terrors in the domestic sphere. It tells of grandmother Margaret, her daughter Claudia, and Claudia’s daughter Helen, who share a home from which Claudia’s husband is frequently absent. Claudia has a penchant for taking strangers under her wing and into the house, the danger being that they never leave. But a different danger is proposed by Maurice, a self-styled poet who boasts that he has served seven years in prison for manslaughter.


‘This is Fremlin at her uniquely warm, chill and funny best.’ – New York Times

‘Gripping mystery…a tense thriller that keeps one in suspense until the very last line.’ – Manchester Evening News

‘A brilliant study…I’m still shattered.’ – Evening Standard

‘Fremlin once again infuses non-violent domestic doings with a sense of mounting menace, and in this particular novel she comes up with a positively smashing finale.’ – Washington D.C. News

‘Prisoner’s Base, is a minor masterpiece of its genre…the reader is swept away by the enormity of what Claudia’s folly has wrought.  Miss Fremlin concludes the book with a chilling finale that is both absolutely right and absolutely horrifying.’ – Texas Herald Banner

‘Much of the action is at once maddening and funny – until the blow to the reader’s solar plexus is delivered.  Magnificent technique, and the finest assortment of characters.’ – This World

‘Not for a long time have I felt so drained, so shattered at the end of a book…[Prisoner’s Base] is a beautifully produced little piece of work.’ – Cardiff Western Mail

‘Haunting…Fremlin continues to prove that the modern horror story makes the traditional Gothic one no more than a child’s make-believe.’ – Los Angeles Times

‘In Claudia, Celia Fremlin has created a misguided monster of a character.’ –

Born in Kent, Celia Fremlin (1914-2009) went on to read classics and then philosophy at Somerville College, Oxford. She married...