Playing Happy Families

Playing Happy Families

by Julian Symons
     
 

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All of the Midways will remember this Saturday ... because Jenny Midway is about to vanish from the face of the earth. In a strange turn - almost as if magnetic poles have been reversed - the members of the Midway family will begin to repel each other, exchange personalities, and discover shocking strengths and weaknesses they never knew existed. Detective

Overview

All of the Midways will remember this Saturday ... because Jenny Midway is about to vanish from the face of the earth. In a strange turn - almost as if magnetic poles have been reversed - the members of the Midway family will begin to repel each other, exchange personalities, and discover shocking strengths and weaknesses they never knew existed. Detective Superintendent Hilary Catchpole is called in to investigate the disappearance, which might very well not be a crime at all. Against daunting odds, he must unearth the truth about Jenny - before the rest of the family implodes, changing beyond recognition and becoming utterly without mercy ...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A much-honored English author of nearly 30 crime novels, Symons (Sweet Adelaide) again dissects the English middle class in a plot with a twin-screwed narrative. But this time, Symons uncharacteristically delivers less than the book initially promises. The adult children of John and Eleanor Midway gather for their parents' 30th wedding anniversary. Champagne is poured; good food is served. But a crisis changes the lives of the Midways, or perhaps it renders visible aspects of their lives formerly hidden. Their firebrand daughter Jenny vanishes one afternoon; she is revealed as wild and promiscuous. In grief, John falls into the arms of his secretary, while Eleanor becomes an unlikely restaurant mogul. Eleanor's son Eversley, visiting from America, negotiates the sale of a priceless work of art with the gallery where Jenny worked. That odd coincidence sets Detective Superintendent Hilary Catchpole on a hunt for a killer. Symons struggles here on several fronts: his sexually liberated youngsters aren't convincing, and a subplot dealing with John's cross-dressing brother seems a pointless diversion. The impressive talent behind such works as Death's Darkest Face is conspicuously absent in this tale, which is neither taut nor especially knowing. (Jan.)
Emily Melton
A dark and somber story, Symons' latest is most assuredly "not" about happy families, even though one would think the Midways, gathered together to celebrate John and Eleanor's thirtieth wedding anniversary, had plenty to be happy about. John is a successful personnel director for MultiCorpus, Eleanor is a happy homemaker, and their three children, Jenny, David, and Eversley, are seemingly well adjusted, thriving adults. But the pleasant stability of the Midways' lives vanishes when Jenny inexplicably goes missing. Detective Superintendent Hilary Catchpole, called in to investigate Jenny's disappearance, soon discovers that the Midways are not what they seem and that there are dark and dangerous undercurrents swirling beneath the family's placid surface. The tenacious Catchpole scrutinizes, pokes, and probes until he finds Jenny, but in the process, he exposes a complex web of bizarre secrets and behaviors. Written in the style of Ruth Rendell and P. D. James, Symons' story is a finely drawn study of family relationships as well as a darkly riveting and intense mystery.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780892965786
Publisher:
Hachette Book Group
Publication date:
10/19/1994
Series:
Cloak and Dagger Series
Pages:
324
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.88(d)

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