Rona Parish is a biographer who finds murder & mystery wherever she goes. Unfinished portrait is the seventh book in this series of engaging mysteries with a very nosey protagonist. Rona lives in an English county town with her artist husband, Max & their dog, Gus. She’s close to her twin sister, Lindsey, & recently separated parents, Tom & Avril.
Rona stopped writing biographies for a while after one of her projects came to a violent end. Since then, she has been writing freelance articles for the magazine Chiltern Life. She’s just finished a series on the history of local businesses where she found a mystery with every assignment. When her publisher rings with a proposal that she write a biography of the reclusive artist, Elspeth Wilding, Rona is tempted. Elspeth disappeared 18 months before & her family are hoping that Rona, whose reputation for solving mysteries has preceded her, will not only write the book but find out what happened to Elspeth. Although Rona refuses to investigate Elspeth’s disappearance, she can’t resist following up clues when they appear. Elspeth was a child prodigy, exhibiting her work as a teenager but her reputation had dimmed in recent years & then there was the suicide of her only friend, Chloe, after a jealous argument over Chloe’s new boyfriend. Did either of these things have anything to do with Elspeth’s disappearance? Is she alive or dead?
Anthea Fraser has been writing for 40 years & I’ve enjoyed her mysteries for years. Apart from the Rona Parish books, she’s also written a lot of stand-alone mysteries. I enjoy the combination of biographical research with detection in this series. Rona is a determined woman & her adventures always make for interesting reading on a Sunday afternoon – which is when I read this one.