I read this book as quickly as possible partly because it had no real plot development, and partly because I could barely believe what I was reading. What development there is comes in the form of tortuous dialogue and vague intimations of occult goings on in the small lake against which the house is set. Eve hates the house, but cannot dissuade her husband Andrew from holding several parties in it. They have another house somewhere, but spend all their time in the old house, which Andrew has been updating. They gather together, with Minty who is Andrew’s ex-wife, but turns up anyway, with a 50-something lush who proceeds to seduce a girl from the village. Meanwhile the horrendously self-centred Minty goes for a swim in the lake. She almost drowns and has to go to hospital, but then signs herself out and comes back. Why don’t they just take her back to hospital? She’s been in a mini-coma (if there is such a thing) – but no such luck.
But if you think we’ve touched the bottom of the barrel with Minty, along comes Eve’s mother who, it turns out, is fixated on her dead son, James, the one who raped his sister when she was fifteen and is a stalker from beyond the grave. The whole lot of them are sex-obsessed and everyone fancies Eve like crazy. There are lots of characters, but I frequently couldn’t work out who was looking after the five month-old baby Eve has just had. Most of the time it appears to be Pansy, Minty’s daughter, who trails around in doc marten boots and navel-revealing tops. Pansy has a black boyfriend who won’t commit and says he’s polygamous. The boyfriend and Eve have a session in a hallway, but the ghost of James is far more attuned and can ‘take’ her at will from the back of beyond. Really, no, not in my universe.