When a body is discovered in the Regents Canal, the local residents vaguely wonder if it might belong to their missing neighbour Barbs, but none of them quite get round to doing anything about it.
While Scarlett is preoccupied with her uptight husband Brian and her adolescent daughter Camille, Connie is wondering whether her lover Memet is being unfaithful to her. As the two women gossip and wryly comment on everything from advertising and the press, psychiatrists and school systems to nutrition cranks, the lives of both families are turned on their heads as the do-gooder Barbs' whereabouts remain unknown.
One of the funniest, wisest and strangest British writers of the last fifty years. - Jonathan Coe
Alice Thomas Ellis, whose real name was Anna Haycraft, was half-Finnish, half-Welsh and spent her childhood in Liverpool and as an evacuee in North Wales. She lived in Camden in North London with her family. Her friend Beryl Bainbridge wrote of her: "Whenever I had to go somewhere in an aeroplane I'd ring Anna up and ask if she thought God would keep it in the air. She always said He would."