At Sea

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Published by: Quercus Publishing
Release Date: September 28, 2011
Pages: 320
ISBN13: 978-0857381354


Does any woman really know her husband?

Enid has been married to the handsome, charismatic lecturer Bernard Finch for over twenty years. But after one fateful supper on board a cruise ship she starts to wonder, is Bernard quite what he seems? He always says life began when he met Enid. But Bernard has a past, and it’s threatening to catch up with him.


This book is the closest I’ve come to writing a Venetian story. People tend to assume that a writer living in Venice must be writing thrillers set in dark alleys or Byronic bodice-rippers, but neither genre ever appealed to me. Frankly I never found the city either sexy or sinister. The writer in me was more interested in the exceptionally high concentration of flakes, frauds and nutcases who seem drawn to the place, their life stories often as mutable as the waters of the lagoon.

I have no problem with self-reinvention. It’s a theme I’ve often used in my novels. Sometimes it’s admirable. At worst it’s sad.  But then I thought what if one of these shape-shifters happened to cross the path of Mr. Memory? My friend Mr. M has total recall of everyone he ever met; the when, the where, the why, plus the names and inside leg measurements of their second cousins. He’s a walking Rolodex. Not only that, but he keeps scrapbooks too, so though you may go to your grave swearing you never wore white lipstick, he has hard copy.

So I thought, where would be a very bad place to bump into someone who remembers all the things about you that you hoped the world had forgotten? I heard the departure siren of a thirteen-storey floating fun palace as it slipped out of Venice’s maritime terminal at the start of a ten day cruise and I thought ‘Oh yes. That will do nicely.’

And then the voice of Lady Enid came to me, and I started writing.