Based on a true story, the cause celebre of its day, Paul Ferris's atmospheric novel tells the coruscating story of sexual obsession, bigamy, amorality, and the sinister disappearance of a woman. It is 1917. George Shotton, a marine surveyor, has escaped active service in the war but is trapped in a loveless (for him), sexless (for her) marriage to churchy, frigid May. No wonder his eye wanders -- it has before. But this time, his lust will have terrible consequences. Mamie Stuart, the object of his affections, is a girl of her time: Sunderland-born, living a louche life in London's Notting Hill Gate, she has been 'on the stage' as one of a dancing troupe, showing off her legs at music-halls. George expects much more than that, but, then, so does Mamie. Why, she wonders, won't George marry her? (She knows nothing of May.) Why, May wonders, is George away so much? Why has he stopped pestering her in bed? (She knows nothing of Mamie.) The violent outcome which is inevitable causes waves which reach the 1960s, when a detective (with much in common with George) begins to delve into an old and ghastly crime.
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Born in Wales, Paul Ferris is the biographer of Dylan Thomas, Caitlin Thomas, Richard Burton, Huw Wheldon, and, most recently, Freud. His novels include The Detective and Talk to Me About England.Review:
Reviews for previous novels: 'Ferris works on a broad canvas. He creates the melancholy of rogues adrift in harsh new circumstances beautifully.' Observer 'Ferris captures in fiery prose an impression of modern Britain in the making.' Mail on Sunday
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