The village cleaning lady who holds everyone’s house-keys opens a boot to find some unexpectedly dead contents; a vengeful dinner party host serves more than just a roast to her six guests; and driven to distraction by his new young wife, a man resorts to two grisly acts, in a gripping re-imagining of a famous Irish ballad.
Ripping away the polite façade of small communities, these stories of love, lies and revenge reveal the roiling emotions and frustration that can lead seemingly good people to do bad things. Rich in compassion, pathos and humour, Anne Youngson offers us her dark take on human foibles, pettiness and rivalry in this sparkling. unputdownable collection.
"Anne Youngson’s diverting short stories are gleefully grim; brimful of sudden violence, overwhelming emotion and salient life lessons, where everyday people — hairdressers, housekeepers and wildlife photographers — are at the mercy of dark minds and messy motivations.
There’s an accomplished liar who knows ‘you have to be within touching distance of the truth’ to be believable (Empty Nest); a cosy dinner party, in the titular story, that becomes wincingly uncomfortable as the host provokes soul-searching in her guests; while the narrator of The Weekend In Question finds a body and discovers the wealthy people she cleans for are as ‘full of ambivalence and good intentions’ as she is." - Eithne Farry for The Daily Mail
"A darkly entertaining collection of stories full of colourful suspects and complicated motives, including the brilliantly told title story of a vengeful dinner party host." - The Bookseller