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Most Intimate Place, The [Paperback]

Rosemary Furber
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 July 2009
Patrick Price Johnson is on remand for the murder and intimate assault of a woman priest. His story begins with a mundane article for a local newspaper, but when his girlfriend Julia gets involved, the stakes are raised. Patrick finds himself manipulated into a piece of literary detective work that will uncover a Church of England scandal - or so he thinks.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: MAIA BOOKS (16 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904559395
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904559399
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 19.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,143,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Rosemary Furber started her writing career as a freelance journalist working for London's Evening Standard, the Independent on Sunday, the Sunday Tribune and various magazines. She was also a member of the founding team of The Week. A former City solicitor, she combined bringing up her three children with commissioning legal textbooks for Butterworths and journalism. She now writes full time and is a prison visitor. She was born in Belfast and lives with her family in south London.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

`You did say you loved me once.' How could you say that? I told you I loved you all the time, and I meant it! Or did I just say it in my head? Maybe I did. Anyway I need you in here with me, Julia. I need you here beside me. I need you to know the truth.

Let me take you back to Helen's room, to the last time I saw her, when I learned the real meaning of post-coital tristesse. Post-coital distress.

I sat there for hours looking at her, the dark red hair spread over the pillow, and her dress and the pillow red too, and my shirt, matching the red Christmas ribbons all over the place and I was thinking What a cock up. Of all the things - What a fucking cock up. What am I going to do? I was angry. Not scared yet.

That's her phone over there, I thought, with my blood on it, next to the writing paper and a pyramid of books. Every joint in my body creaked as I got up and took her phone in my hand. It was cold but I could smell her smoky breath still on it. But who could I call?

I had the urge to hear someone compassionate, soothing and utterly on my side.

`Hello, Mummy, it's Patrick.'

`Hello, darling. How are you?'
What could I say? I'm sorry. Very sorry. For myself mostly.

`Alright,' I said. Pause. What could I say next? What could I say?

`I'm so glad you've called, darling,' her voice was posh and perky through the receiver, like a caricature, `I've been trying to get hold of you. I left messages with your boss but he said he hadn't seen you. Have you decided about Christmas Day?'

`Ahm ...'

`We've got Tim and Fiona and the girls coming. Seb's being indispensable in Brussels as usual, and I thought we could have quail this time instead of, you know, turkey's so dull, what do you think?'

`I'm not sure, Mummy. Look, I'm a bit tied up. I've got stuff to do here. I need ... I need ...'

`Well, it's up to you. Are you still a vegetarian, or has that worn off?'

`I haven't been vegetarian for two and a half years.'

`Oh good. Well, let me know as soon as you can. Damn, there's somebody at the door ...'

I need ...
Mummy, I need ...
`OK, darling? Still there?'

`Yeah. I'm still here.'

`Let me know soon, won't you, darling?'

I put the receiver down. I could taste blood. There was a ridge across my tongue as I licked my cut lip. It looks like blood, tastes like blood, must be a cock up.

Was my tongue cut in half? That old taste slapped me right back to Tim and Seb and torture games, with me tied over my head in a sack and them rolling me round the garden over the gravel and the tree stumps, with me crying and crying through a sore mouth.
Suddenly I was so fucking angry I kicked a shiny little leather-topped table away from me. It rolled over and lay with two legs in the air, two on the floor and all the ash and fag ends from the ashtray splayed on the rug beside the books. I looked over at her lying on the bed. At the elegant way her spine curved from the dress at her waist down to the divide of her beautiful arse. I decided to kiss her again. You won't bite me now, Helen, I thought. I'm going to kiss you, and you won't bite me again.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking, intelligent read 15 July 2009
The Most Intimate Place is not the most obvious one - that little twist and the deft unsettling of presumptions sets the tone for this novel. This is one for the reader looking for that little bit more - not just to unfurl the complexities of the plot, or interested in picking up on the dynamics between complex, fully-realised characters, or thinking through the implications of what's really being said: it's all of these and more.

The writer knows how little details can reveal big emotions and clearly relishes playing with language to both entertain and provoke the reader into seeing things afresh. She also clearly knows her stuff: there's an authenticity to the characters emotions, the institutions they encounter and the situations they find themselves it that keeps the plot moving onwards with a steadily mounting rhythym.

There's a lot here and I'm keen to read it again to pick up more on the subtleties of the characterisation and the drama. I'm looking forward to rejoining these characters and spending a bit more time in their world.

Oh, and the ending leaves you thrilled: no tricks are pulled here, it's the absolute culmination of the plot and all that has gone before.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive 20 Feb 2010
This is a beautifully written book about an unpleasant crime with some unpeasant characters, but it is compelling and addictive.

The story is told through Patrick's writings (alongside a few letters) in which he hopes to explain to his girlfriend how he came to be standing over a dead body, covered in blood and gives insight into his prison life. Alongside this are chapters from the victim's book, giving differing interpretations of female characters from the Bible (mainly Old Testament). These three aspects are tied together nicely through themes of love, obedience, and obsession. The final climax of the book is neither predictable nor an incredulous twist - connecting all the different strands and making sense of everything.

I would definitely recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
The narrator of this book is a young man, Patrick Price Johnson, a bit of a rake, but currently in love with his girlfriend Julia. Interspersed with his narrative are a number of renderings of bible stories and the subject of religion is also explored through Patrick (who is a journalist - on a minor rag that hardly seems to pay) and his interviews and other meetings with a female priest an Anglican, Helen Halberd, who, with the help of Neil Sarbridge, another priest is setting up a new Evangelical branch of the Anglican church. None of this is as tame as it sounds. For one thing, Patrick is in prison, though we only gradually learn why.

The Bible stories are beautifully rendered as sensual meditations on Bathsheba and David, Mary and Martha and the raising of their brother Lazarus from the dead, and Mary of Bethany, a biblical figure who seems to have been most often merged with Mary Magdelene, but whom this narrative separates as a figure in her own right. I'm not particularly religious myself, but found these meditations beautiful and moving.

This narrative by a young and initially at least, very carefree young man, but one who finds himself terribly conflicted is totally convincing (his inability to think of much beyond sex at every turn is well-rendered)though the tragic ending to this tale is curiously muted (in more ways than one). Nevertheless, this is an compelling and delightfully original novel that is well worth reading.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 5 July 2009
One of the things that made this book so interesting was its ability to explore theological argument whilst still remaining a completely captivating read. It maintains a strong plot whilst also combining a whole other book within its pages. A wonderful novel written with skill and imagination that had me engrossed right from the off.
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