Devil By The Sea (VMC) Paperback – 2 Nov 2006
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A born story-teller (INDEPENDENT)
Nina Bawden's readers should be numbered like the sands of the sea (GUARDIAN)
Nina Bawden's great talent is to be able to take you along a perfectly ordinary street, rip the façade away and show the strange and passionate events that go on behind closed doors (DAILY TELEGRAPH)
Nina Bawden's great talent is to be able to take you along a perfectly ordinary street, rip the façade away and show the strange and passionate events that go on behind closed doors'
Top Customer Reviews
When a small girl from the area goes missing and is subsequently found murdered, Mr and Mrs Bray are concerned for their children, but decide to keep the news to themselves as they do not want to scare them. Therefore, when one day Hilary is on her own and the club-footed man approaches her, she is not fully aware of the potential danger of the situation. Hilary is a precocious and unusual child - but will her natural perceptiveness warn her against this strange man or will her sympathy with his situation allow her to be enticed into going off with him?
Nina Bawden has written an absorbing novel with a strong narrative drive, and the subject matter, worrying though it is, makes for a compelling read.Read more ›
So begins this intruiging opening to what becomes a frightening story of children trying to deal with matters that are very much beyond their level of understanding. It’s Peregrine, Hilary’s younger brother who first ‘realises’ that the man is devil. He wears a long black overcoat and one of his feet is hobbled somehow. Peregrine imagines that he’s seen his cloven foot. But it’s Hilary who sees the man walking away holding the hand of another little girl, Poppet.
This book is set some time in the late 1950s when Hilary lives with her extended family, Mum, Dad and brother and a much older Aunt who is deaf, but very astute at reading lips. Also living with them is Janet, the daughter of Dad’s previous marriage. Janet is involved with Aubrey, something of a womaniser, who sees himself as practising the arts of seduction on Janet, with no intended consequence. When Hilary (aged, I’m guessing around 12 or 13) steals a letter that has arrived for Janet, she pushes it to the back of a kitchen drawer. The overheated atmosphere of the house is troubling. When, inevitably, Janet finds the pilfered letter she knows at once that it was Hilary who stole it. Hilary hates the attention that Peregrine receives but loves her Dad, until he sees her joining in a schoolboy attack on some gypsy children, among whom lurks the man identified as the Devil. He punishes her cruelly, smacking her on her bare behind and she is devastated by the ritual humiliation.
The characterisation is done very well, but I find it very hard to imagine the household where nobody likes anybody very much and where people are continually unkind to each other.Read more ›