This is a darkly comic and highly original novel about an assorted bunch of eccentrics living and/or working in a reitrement home - a most unlikely setting for a tale of blackmail, skulduggery and redemption, which gives the author plenty of scope for her razor-sharp observations of human frailty. She writes brilliantly about the elderly - their poignant memories, quirky habits and petty feuds - with a merciless wit that fans of Jane Austen or Barbara Pym would enjoy, and yet manages to weave into this comedy of manners a dark and truly shocking storyline. There are memorable turns of phrase on every page: this is a description of Betty, the officious warden, at work: 'Asked, she would have said that she was catching up with her paperwork. This would not, strictly speaking, have been true, for Betty had caught up with her paperwork long ago, had drawn ahead and positively lapped it, in fact.' A pleasure from start to finish.