Dangerous to Know

Overview

The Atlanta Journal & Constitution crowned Margaret Yorke "the queen of the British domestic thriller" after reviewing the veteran crime writer's superb study of malice among suburbanites, Criminal Damage. Now, Yorke's chilling ability to remove the mask of respectability to show us the brutal face beneath reasserts itself with delicious wickedness in her thirty-sixth suspense novel, Dangerous to Know. Deftly she pulls aside the lace curtains of middle-class living to reveal a dark portrait of a marriage. ...
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Overview

The Atlanta Journal & Constitution crowned Margaret Yorke "the queen of the British domestic thriller" after reviewing the veteran crime writer's superb study of malice among suburbanites, Criminal Damage. Now, Yorke's chilling ability to remove the mask of respectability to show us the brutal face beneath reasserts itself with delicious wickedness in her thirty-sixth suspense novel, Dangerous to Know. Deftly she pulls aside the lace curtains of middle-class living to reveal a dark portrait of a marriage. Riding her bicycle about Creddington in her worn sweater and tweed skirt, Hermione Brown looked as drab, brown, and common as a mouse. Actually she was doing something extraordinary - deceiving her husband, Walter, by secretly taking on two afternoon jobs cleaning houses. For twenty years she had lived in fear of Walter's rages, brutality, and harsh demands. Now, with her daughters grown, she was taking the first small step towards a different life. Getting away from Walter may be more difficult than Hermione supposes. Walter has a predilection not only for domestic tyranny, but for women with long, dark hair as well. In fact, Walter Brown has started stalking one such woman he glimpsed on the train home from work. Of course, no one, not the vicar, the neighbors, the town councilmen, nor Hermione herself suspect how dangerous Walter is to know. Slowly, his obsessions grow. Inexorably, he hatches a new scheme involving the woman on the train, his pathological needs - and his wife. And Margaret Yorke has some surprising revelations waiting for us. As Hermione's timid rebellion collides with Walter's twisted plot, the result may be a bang or a whimper ... or a blood-curdling surprise.

For years, Hermione Brown has been oppressed by her husband Walter and has gradually become his slave. When her daughters leave home taking away what happiness she had left, Hermoine is alone and defenseless against Walter's escalating persecution. As Walter's rage begins taking on more terrifying forms, she plans her escape.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this quiet suspense thriller, Yorke ( Criminal Damage ) once again deftly explores the darker side of the lives of characters who, to all appearances, could be the folks next door. Walter Brown didn't begin to hit his wife Hermione until after their two daughters had grown up and left home, but throughout their marriage he has enjoyed controlling her life, relishing opportunities to taunt her and see her ``utterly broken.'' Hermione has begun to balk at doing ``her duty'' in bed, but Walter has his secret visits to prostitutes in London, where if he gets rough, it's only what they deserve. He doesn't notice that his wife is developing her own secrets: she gains a friend in a woman she meets in a cafeteria and finds work cleaning two houses, which gives her two afternoons out each week and her own pocket money. The appreciation of her friend and her employers arms Hermione to begin to withstand Walter's relentless scrutiny and humiliating comments. She is beginning to consider that she, too, has rights when a meddlesome woman notes the changes in her quiet neighbor's routine. Although, in typical Yorke style, the story builds slowly toward its climax, events of the aftermath fully reward the patient reader. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Yorke ( A Small Deceit , LJ 9/1/91, among others) has created an elegantly simple, cleverly paced novel of suspense guaranteed to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Slipping with ease inside the minds of her two main characters, Hermione and Walter Brown, Yorke paints a grimly compelling portrait of a marriage gone horribly wrong. Walter is tyrannical and unreasonable; Hermione, his emotionally battered wife, is a virtual slave to his every whim. Walter's ever-present rage is stoked when Hermione begins to show signs of change. A new friend, a part-time job--what will be next? Will Hermione find the courage to leave Walter before he explodes in truly murderous rage? As suspense builds, the reader roots for Hermione to make her bid for freedom before it's too late. Exciting to the end, Yorke's latest is highly recommended for popular fiction collections.-- Beth Ann Mills, New Rochelle P.L., N.Y.
Kirkus Reviews
The author adds domestic abuse to her chronicles of British middle-class society (A Small Deceit, etc.) as she contemplates Hermione Brown, a chronically frightened mouse married to Walter—a pompous, penny-pinching monster ruined by his own brutal childhood. Their two grown daughters have escaped the loveless household in Merbury village in record time, and Hermione is beginning to silently rebel, taking on two cleaning jobs without Walter's knowledge, thankful for the increasing frequency of his late nights. Walter's life has been changing, too, as he finds other outlets for his savagery. He's not finished with Hermione, though, and a last violent confrontation finds Walter in the headlines and Hermione in a fight for her future. Repetitive at times and a bit too leisurely in pace, but filled with quiet menace and sharply observed characters: one of veteran Yorke's better efforts.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792720553
  • Publisher: Chivers North America
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Edition description: LARGEPRINT
  • Pages: 292

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