19 May 2011

Forgotten Books: UNGUARDED HOURS, Rendell and Simpson

This week's Friday's Forgotten book for the meme hosted by Patti Abbott on Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books appears in my records for 1993.

THE STRAWBERRY TREE (Ruth Rendell) and FLESH AND GRASS (Helen Simpson) were two novellas published in one cover, UNGUARDED HOURS in 1990. It was the first volume in a series of suspense novellas published under the general title Unguarded Hours

THE STRAWBERRY TREE is a short novel about Petra Summers, an attractive middle-aged woman with a past which is beginning to come back to haunt her. The events of The Strawberry Tree happen in Majorca, during a long cloudless summer, some forty years ago, before the coming of the souvenir shops and tourist agencies. It is a place and time experienced intensely by four children who explore the island and the Casita de Golondro, the little haunted house, and whose lives are utterly changed by the happenings of the summer.

FLESH AND GRASS is a gourmand's suspense story set deep in middle England where George Thurkle, chef proprietor of Chez Thurkle, and Felix Growcott, village doctor, salivate together over an astonishing variety of flesh. Meanwhile the doctor's daughter, Bryony, puts a brick through the shop window of the village's gentle butcher, Thomas Farewell.

While Ruth Rendell, already an established author, has gone on to be a very prolific writer, Helen Simpson has continued to produced occasional collections of short stories. This was Helen Simpson's first publication.   

1 comment:

George said...

I've been reading Ruth Rendell for decades, but I don't think THE STRAWBERRY TREE has been published in the U.S. I'll have to check it out. I haven't read any Helen Simpson, but after your review I may give her a try.


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