Stuart Font is having both an affair with a woman named Claudia and a housewarming party. A few months previous, he moved into an apartment complex full of interesting characters and he wants to meet, well, some of them. He doesn’t like the drama or the expense of his affair, but just can’t seem to say no. Like Stuart, some of his neighbors are obsessed with particular addictions, while others are victims of someone else’s obsessions.
Claudia’s husband Freddie is suspicious and places some monitoring devices on her computer. He confronts Stuart with his new-found information with a stick and attacks him. This “warning” goes unheeded, despite the fact that Stuart knows he needs (and wants) to end the relationship. He can’t stop. His neighbor Olwen is an alcoholic. I would like to say she is battling with alcoholism, but in truth, she has given herself over entirely to the disease. Her descent is both amazingly accurate and heartbreaking.
There are also a doctor and his wife, an ex-hippie who loves to study Milton, a homeopathic healer, three college girls, the woman who cleans the flats, and her husband, an as-yet not guilty pedophile who is straying into dangerous territory. He just can’t stop himself, and rationalizes every step he takes into further depravity.
On the surface, this story seems pretty tame compared to the usual dangerous and manipulative nutjobs Rendell writes about. Yet it is realistic, and you can see people like this in everyday life. All in all, it wasn’t my favorite but it’s a pretty good read. For a great Rendell read, try 13 Steps Down.
I had some time this weekend to sit down and do some work on Sail. The “a” and “i” are done and I’ve started working on “S”. Interesting note: The boat in the picture is dark blue while the pattern says it is currant. This is the DMC 902 color. I like the dark blue better so I went through my DMC floss collection and picked one out. We’ll see.
The weather has turned cool and grey again so my burst of summertime energy has waned a bit. Hopefully it will be back soon.
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