First published: UK, Macmillan, 1992
The best thing about Symons is that his books are shot, and can be read very quickly. On the whole, they’re not very good. The plots are slight or unconvincing, the tone cold and mean-spirited, and they lack humour, optimism or belief in reason and order.
This is a very late one, and like a minor Rendell. A housewife has an affair with a driving instructor, discovers that her husband is a homosexual, plots to kill him and marry her lover, goes mad, discovers that her lover was stringing her along and has defrauded her, and kills him instead. Drab and uninspired, but with lots of frank and off-putting sexual detail, so it must be good. Meh.
· Symons’s favourite theme of fantasy vs. reality: Judith’s day-dreams, writing love letters to herself, split personality, taking refuge in madness.