Clare Wakefield is not pleased (to say the least) that her sadistic, habitually lying husband Edwin has escaped his abductors in the Middle East and is returning home—a media sensation, a hero. But is he really? She and her son note discrepancies in his story, and his agitation is monumental when the two men supposedly kidnapped with him—one of them by the name of Richard Barlow—are scheduled to return home. As Edwin worms his way into Barlow's home, odd accidents happen to brakes, etc., and Clare is certain that he plans to kill Barlow to keep his own lies a secret. Then the other colleague's plane is due, and Edwin runs down to Penzance to be there. Planning another murder? Barlow's giddy wife Sally, enthralled by Edwin's spurious charm, follows her husband, who has followed Edwin, while Clare watches and worries. Whose version of the hero-making events will prevail? Who, in fact, will be the victim, who the murderer? Before a wallop-packed end, Fremlin's tragedy takes one more nasty turn.... Fremlin excels at psychological mystery (Listening in the Dusk, etc.) and, here, is pretty near the top of her form—from the dispassionate, cleareyed Clare to the childish, posturing Edwin, every character is incisively written.
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