Davies, Freda 1930–

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Davies, Freda 1930–

(Amy Pirnie)


Born 1930, in London, England. Education: Graduated from Bristol University, England.


Writer. Formerly a teacher.



A Fine and Private Place, Constable (London, England), 2001.

Bound in Shallows, Carroll & Graf Publishers (New York, NY), 2003.

Flawed Scales, Constable (London, England), 2005.


The Tanner's Wife: A Pembroke Story, Caeriw Publishing (Pembroke, Wales), 2005.

Ninian's Daughter: A Pembroke Story, Caeriw Publishing (Pembroke, Wales), 2006.

A Portion for Foxes: A Pembroke Story, Caeriw Publishing (Pembroke, Wales), 2007.


Let Heaven Fall (British edition published under name Freda Davies), Allison & Busby (London, England), 1995, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2006.

Lesser Creatures, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2007.


Freda Davies has written under her own name and the pseudonym Amy Pirnie. Published under her own name are the volumes of the "Pembroke Stories" and "Detective Inspector Keith Tyrell and His Team" series. The former series describes life in a growing town in the early twelfth century and involves events in the life and times of Nest. Known as the Helen of Wales, Nest was the daughter of a king, mistress of Henry I of England, and mother of the first Fitzgeralds of Ireland.

In A Fine and Private Place, the first book in the "Detective Inspector Keith Tyrell and His Team" series, Freda introduces Detective Inspector Tyrell, who is called in to identify the skeletal remains uncovered on the property of Sir Edward Driffield in the small English village of Tolland. Dog tags identify the remains as an American soldier gone AWOL during World War II. Tyrell determines that the missing soldier was murdered and sets out to discover the murderer as well as the killer of Mehmet Orhan, a child pornographer whose body turns up in somebody else's grave. Barry Forshaw, writing on the Crime Time Web site, commented: "The unassuming manner of Davies' writing cleverly wrongfoots the reader, and ensures total attention." A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that the author "kicks off her series with a splendid evocation of village life, offbeat family portraits, a pair of complex puzzles, and a believable, low-key hero."

Bound in Shallows finds Tyrell investigating the murder of an unidentified young woman in the Forest of Dean, a mysterious place known for its pagan background, which still lives on with its inhabitants. Two more murders occur, and Tyrell goes against the popular theory that it is a serial killer on the loose. Instead, he surmises that more than one killer is involved in the deaths. Also featured in the story is Tyrell's ongoing personal battle with Detective Chief Inspector Richard Whittaker, who tries to thwart Tyrell every chance he gets. Referring to the police procedural as "absorbing," a Publishers Weekly contributor later wrote in the same review: "There's a lot going on here, but Davies pulls it all together in a realistic page-turner." Rex E. Klett wrote in the Library Journal that the story "is strengthened by authentic surrounds, departmental idiosyncrasies, and clever plotting."

As Amy Pirnie she is author of the "Sue Bennett Murder Mystery" series. The first book in the series, Let Heaven Fall, was first published in England in 1995 under the author's birth name and introduces readers to Sue Bennett, a London science reporter who gets involved in mysteries. The second book in the series, Lesser Creatures, finds Sue trying to track down the culprit or culprits who bombed the newspaper building where she works, killing several of her colleagues while police believe the bomb was meant for her. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that the author "moves the story along with clean, brisk prose." Writing in Kirkus Reviews, a contributor noted that the author "tosses romance and adventure into the mix and comes up with a winner."

Davies told CA: "I have always enjoyed writing and find committing murders and solving them great fun. I was influenced by Professor Keith Simpson, an expert pathologist and charismatic lecturer. The most surprising thing I have learned as a writer is just how enjoyable the process is when it is going well. [My] writing process occurs as early in the day as possible. I start at page one and am always surprised by the way plots develop from the kernel of an idea. As to my favorite book, I have not stopped writing long enough to look back and decide—yet."



Booklist, October 15, 2001, David Pitt, review of A Fine and Private Place, p. 385.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2001, review of A Fine and Private Place, p. 1247; September 15, 2003, review of Bound in Shallows, p. 1155; November 15, 2006, review of Lesser Creatures, p. 1157.

Library Journal, November 1, 2001, Rex E. Klett, review of A Fine and Private Place, p. 135; November 1, 2003, Rex E. Klett, review of Bound in Shallows, p. 127.

Publishers Weekly, October 1, 2001, review of A Fine and Private Place, p. 40; September 29, 2003, review of Bound in Shallows, p. 46; November 20, 2006, review of Lesser Creatures, p. 42.


BookLoons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (August 26, 2007), Tim Davis, review of Lesser Creatures.

Crime Time,http://www.crimetime.co.uk/ (August 26, 2007), Barry Forshaw, review of Bound in Shallows.

Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (August 26, 2007), Toby Bromberg, review of A Fine and Private Place; Kim Colley, review of Bound in Shallows.

Shots,http://www.shotsmag.co.uk/ (August 26, 2007), Maureen Carlyle, review of Bound in Shallows.

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