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When left-wing London grad student Esther Farringdon runs into Brian Bennet (nowadays more flagrantly homosexual than ever) in an artsy shop, he invites her to join him in visiting posh Charles Tibbald; the three of them shared a teenage summer full of secrets a decade ago at an odd children's resort--and Esther can still feel her long-ago infatuation for smooth, cool, handsome Charles. Within hours, in fact, Esther is smitten all over again with this snobbish, sneering cad. And even though he's engaged (to a doll-like American belle), she succumbs to his cold-eyed advances (""Do you fuck, Esther?"") while the foursome is on a picnic at the site of that old resort at Glan-yr-Afon. Soon Charles is married, and Esther is his besotted every-Thursday mistress--her ardor only slightly dampened when Charles brings other women around, when Charles' rich aunt is found battered to death, and when flighty Brian is also murdered. The culprit is obvious, especially after a flashback fills us in on that long-ago summer: teenage Charles was already a sadistic psycho who forced the other mixed-up kids to play ""the Truth Game,"" spill their sad stories, and go through humiliating initiation rites. . . one of which ended fatally. And the inevitable climax is an Esther/Charles showdown at Glan-yr-Afon. Slightly slimy, thoroughgoing nonsense--with Charles and Esther (who's rebelling against her right-wing parents) both clearly bonkers almost from the start; but Cave handles it all so sleekly and stylishly that fanciers of high-toned psycho-suspense will tag along right up till the grisly end.

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 1979
Publisher: Harper & Row