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THE PRICE OF GUILT by Margaret Yorke


by Margaret Yorke

Pub Date: March 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-312-25332-X
Publisher: Minotaur

Another of Yorke’s signature pieces (False Pretences, 1999, etc.) featuring a middle-class life of excruciating desperation,

this one belonging to timid Louise Widdows, a hit-and-run victim, who is released from hospital to find that husband Colin has

decamped with their savings. An unexpected legacy provides Louise with Lilac Cottage, which she moves into, taking pains to

ensure that Colin can’t find her. Her worries, however, are far from over. Bullies assault her on a train; she still pines for a son

she gave up for adoption years ago; Colin’s previous absences, she now notices, coincided with several girls" deaths; and someone

is staying in her new friend Dorothy’s house, uninvited, while Dorothy is away. Journalist Andrew Sherwood and his son Nicky

offer Louise some comfort, but her unhappy life comes to a messy end when she’s found pummeled to death at the foot of her

stairs. Colin flees to France, Dorothy’s maid quits without notice, and there are several clever twists before Andrew and Nicky

and a warmhearted librarian place floral tributes on Louise’s doorstep.

If Yorke’s specialty, an unrelenting, stinging menace that pervades her characters" every nook and cranny, doesn’t quite rise

to the lonely heights of Almost the Truth (1995), it’s still commanding enough to confirm her place beside Ruth Rendell on the

bleakest-of-Britain bookshelf.