Frances Fyfield

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Frances Hegarty
Born (1948-11-18) 18 November 1948 (age 75)
Derbyshire, England
Pen nameFrances Fyfield
OccupationLawyer and writer

Frances Fyfield (born 18 November 1948[1]) is the pseudonym of Frances Hegarty, an English lawyer and crime-writer.[2]


Born and brought up in Derbyshire, Hegarty was mostly educated in convent schools[3] before reading English at Newcastle University. After graduating, she took a course in criminal law. She worked initially for the Metropolitan Police and later the Crown Prosecution Service. She claims "After a long diet of criminal law, including dangerous dogs, rape, mayhem and much, much murder, the indigestion of pity and fury provoked me to write. I wanted to write romance, but the domestically macabre always got in the way."[4]

She has won several awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Duncan Lawrie Dagger for Blood From Stone in 2008 and the Silver Dagger for Deep Sleep. In addition, her novel, Safer than Houses was nominated for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger in 2006. She also writes psychological thrillers under the name of Frances Hegarty, among them, The Playroom, Half Light and Let's Dance, which was published in 1995. [citation needed]

Her novels have been translated into 14 languages. Several have been adapted for television. Fyfield's Helen West series has twice been adapted for television. Juliet Stevenson played Helen West in Trial by Fire (1999) and Amanda Burton later took on the role in a successful British television series in 2002. [citation needed]

Fyfield hosted the BBC Radio 4 programme Tales from the Stave until 2018. The programme looked at important music works using original scores and libretto.


Helen West novels

  • A Question of Guilt (1988) ISBN 9780754079491 – nominated for an Edgar Award
  • Trial by Fire (1990) ISBN 9780434274277 [US Title: Not That Kind of Place] – Rumpole Award
  • Deep Sleep (1991) ISBN 9780434274260 – Silver Dagger Award
  • Shadow Play (1993) ISBN 9780593028667 - Grand Prix de Littérature Policière
  • A Clear Conscience (1994) ISBN 9780593037430
  • Without Consent (1996) ISBN 9780593040782

Sarah Fortune novels

Diana Porteous novels

Other novels

Novels as Frances Hegarty


  • Helen West (2002; television series)
  • The Blind Date (2000)
  • Trial by Fire (1999; TV)


  1. ^ Great Women Mystery Writers, 2nd ed. by Elizabeth Blakesley Lindsay, 2007, Greenwood Press; ISBN 0-313-33428-5; p. 84
  2. ^ Frances Fyfield,, accessed July 2009
  3. ^ Fyfield, Frances. "Biography". Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  4. ^ SkyARTS website, retrieved 5 May 2009 Archived 8 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine