THE MAN FROM NEXT DOOR by Honor Tracy
Kirkus Star

THE MAN FROM NEXT DOOR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Dear Honor Tracy, Is it fair, what with the talent shortage and such, for you to be hoarding it all? I mean, here you have this perfectly fine little London story told by a classy, likable, but slightly snooty girl you call Penelope Butler. She's won a fortune in the foot-ball pools and is enjoying her new, comfy life of riding and shopping and flirting until this wild Irish neighbor of hers begins undermining her existence--involving her with a (supposedly) homeless Pakistani family, swindling her out of 800 pounds, and, when she tries to fight back, framing her as a counterfeiter! A grand yarn, Miss Tracy, suspenseful and charming and even touching--but you have to go and make it satiric, too, with sly stuff about publishers' parties and best-selling writers and cleverly balanced lines like: ""I had been taught as a child that revenge was wicked, sinful, unchristian; but no one had ever warned me that it was so difficult."" And are you satisfied then? No, you are not. You go ahead and have this mad Irish neighbor, Johnny Cruise, tell his side of the story, and it's an eye-opener to say the least, something out of, well, Dostoevsky or whoever else gets under the skin of crazies. So we end up being amused and worried (what happens to poor, admittedly prissy Penelope?) and disturbed, and all because you can't confine yourself to a little bit of talent at a time. Well, just to teach you a lesson, I'm going to go back right now and read it again. Angrily yours, An over-stimulated reader.

Pub Date: May 9th, 1977
Publisher: Random House