If you're looking for a tightly written, disciplined thriller,
a la Dorothy Sayers, this is not the book for you. However, if you like pitchperfect satirical writing on a par with Kingsley Amis, "the Charmer" will leave you as sweetly satisfied as a strychnine petit four.
Hamilton is an oddly overlooked novelist. His plays "Rope" and "Gaslight" (from "Angel Street") garnered him welldeserved attention, but his novels are brilliant, and I don't understand why they're out of print. "The Charmer" is a portait of four suburban British self-deluded "normal" people, each playing out his or her own fantasy of who he/she fancies himself, while the author gives us an unsparing, brilliantly misanthropic portrait of who each actually is. -Doesn't sound thrilling, but this novel is funny, hard to put down, and ultimately profoundly sad.
It was made into a PBS Masterpiece Theatre series a decade or so ago, with Nigel Havers as the eponymous Charmer.