Five women meet in a hospital ward in West London. Five strangers from widely differing backgrounds, forced by cramped conditions into passing intimacy that will spark off rivalries as well as set the foundations of enduring friendship.
Beth, the career cook - popular, successful, at ease with herself and very much her own woman; Vivienne, the jaded socialite, disillusioned with the tawdriness of her glitzy life and fearful for her marriage; sad Catherine with the domineering mother, frightened of the present and forever seeking refuge in a past that never really was; free- wheeling Sally, the wild colonial, with a spirit as unfettered as her morals; and Georgy, the New Yorker, a stranger newly arrived in town with the singular pursuit of love.
Five apples in a barrel ...but one of them is bad.
About the Author
Carol Smith is the author of nine novels, all published by Time Warner Books. She lives in Kensington, West London.
They first meet in a London hospital - five women, each occupying an NHS bed for a different medical reason but drawn together by the confined conditions of the ward. For one of the women in particular, this is a humiliation almost too great to bear. Vivienne Nugent succumbs to the indignity of NHS treatment only because she does not want her rich husband to know about her predicament - which he would if he discovered a bill from a private nursing home. Another of the five, Beth Hardy, is having an affair with Vivienne's husband but suddenly, and against her will, finds herself liking this disillusioned society lady whose idea of therapy is shopping in Harrods. Then there is Sally, the antipodean world-wanderer with no discernable morals, who seems unwilling to tell the other four the real reason she is being hospitalised. And Georgy, the American photographer who is desperate for a relationship and who falls in love with Beth's ex-husband. So far, so run-of-the-mill. But beneath the surface of this glossy tale lurks something nasty in the woodshed. Throughout the narrative we are made aware of a psychopath at large, and of a succession of killings seemingly unrelated to the lives and relationships of the main characters (who, incidentally, are expertly drawn). It is only in the last quarter of this compelling story that a shocking link emerges and we are sucked into a bloodthirsty finale. This is a skilfully plotted book by a polished writer who keeps you turning the pages throughout. (Kirkus UK)
Number Of Pages: 489
Published: 8th April 2008
Dimensions (cm): 17.9 x 10.6 x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.243