Verity Bell has very big eyes, alphabetical leanings and a look that says she'd like to get inside your brain somehow. Or so her best friend Sally tells her, confessing that back at their school, most children thought she was a witch. Sally, a fellow only-child to whom Verity has been glued since girlhood, has become a worry in her twenties because she has actually allowed a married man to set her up in a flat to be his mistress. Verity sees no correlation whatsoever between this retrograde and fairly shocking love-nest and her own transforming passion for a married man called John, who surely yearns to leave his wife and three children to be with her. Doesn't he? Verity lives in a world of her own and we glimpse her grudges (from 'ants' to the 'zeitgeist'), her personal development (from 'ambition' to 'wobbling') and her idiosyncratic network of obsessions (pick a letter, any letter) in a narrative arranged alphabetically by topics in the most curious and satisfying way.