“I lived happily ever after from my mother´s funeral in May, when Esmond came back, until the end of September when I had my first intimation that something might be going wrong. At the time I was listening to Esmond and Bronwen, who were talking in the sitting room.”
This story definitely begins in the middle of things. After the first couple of pages you wonder why the narrator, Thomas Penmarsh, lives in the room with the barred windows, why he grew old in one moment back in 1967, and why his cousin Esmond lives downstairs in what is apparently the narrator´s house.
Other questions that arise are how Esmond´s baby sister died, what happened to his charming scoundrel of a father, and why Esmond seems to have such an immense power over Thomas. And at some point you begin to wonder if the narrator is really to be trusted.
Slowly we learn what happened in the sixties, why Thomas´ daughter Alice grew up somewhere else, and we begin to see how old patterns of behaviour repeat themselves in Finisterre, Thomas´ home near the sea.
An intriguing mystery with a satisfactory yet fairly open ending. I bought the book myself, and I am looking forward to a couple of other stand-alones by this terrific writer.