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The Trouble Makers

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. –

‘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

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