Wildly prolific British satirist Nicholson (Still Life With Volkswagens, 1995, etc.) offers another black comedy of obsession, this time from the viewpoint of a foot fetishist. Right from the start Nicholson's unnamed narrator tells all about his swift descent ""to hell in a shoe box,"" giving the reader an obsessive's-eye--view of every nuance of foot-and shoe-fetishism. The otherwise unremarkable hero has given up on love but never tires of searching for the perfect foot. He has a giant archive of women's shoes, photos of shoes, photos of feet, articles on foot fetishism, anything and everything to do with female feet, and he proudly lays bare his soul to the ladies whose soles he desires. Fraudulently passing himself off as a researcher, he stands outside shoestores asking women to take part in a survey, which eventually leads to him photographing, then propositioning, women with attractive feet. One day the perfect feet do appear, attached to an attractive American named Catherine, who actually loves to have her feet worshipped. The happy couple stumble upon a man who creates specialty shoes for serious shoe lovers. Seeing Catherine's Michelangelo-like feet, the shoemaker, too, is overcome with their beauty and offers, for free, to make shoes for her for the rest of her life. These elaborate creations generally include snakeskin, bone, metal, and all sorts of other intimidating materials. Eventually, however, Catherine gets cold feet (pardon the pun) about the escalatingly strange relationship and runs off with a commercial foot-photographer, angering both narrator and shoemaker to a murderous degree. While the plot is threadbare and the book slight, Nicholson once again demonstrates his biting wit and his unmatched eye for capturing modern-day compulsions. A darkly funny tale with a kick even for the most foot-phobic.