Janet Bretherton, a widow at 60, suspected of her husband's murder and involvement
in the fraud which brought his company down, exiles herself to Puybrun, a small
village in a picturesque corner of south-west France, where she nurses her grief
and tries to rebuild her shattered world. She meets six other Englishwomen who live
the expatriate life. Earthy has fled from a hippy camp in a damp corner of Wales.
Carol claims to have slept with every man in the world called Dave. Belle has a
husband, Charlie, who may or may not be real because no one has ever seen him. Joy
is married to the appalling Arnold. And Veronica and Poppy try to discover the basis
for the love they have for each other. The women form a group in which they take
turns to teach each other the lessons life has taught them. At the same time, they
grow more confident and gradually reveal the secrets of their pasts.
When Janet finds she has attracted the attention of Léon, thirty years younger than
she is, yet seems to find her still sexually desirable as he invites her to go dancing
with him, she asks herself: What are his real motives? And does she care? In the
end, the process of discovery reveals a terrible secret which forces the women to
decide how much they love each other: how far they can rely upon each other... even
when the question is one of murder.
The English Lady Murderers' Society is a humorous and affectionate
description of the solidarity of women in the face of the idiocy and unreliability
of men. It celebrates the courage and beauty of older women. The author is familiar
with the subject because he is married to one of them.
Jim Williams first hit the news when his early novels had the uncanny
knack of coming true. The Hitler Diaries was published nine months before
the celebrated forgery came out. Farewell to Russia dealt with a nuclear
disaster in the Soviet Union months before the Chernobyl incident. Lara's Child,
his sequel to Doctor Zhivago, provoked an international literary scandal
and led to his being a guest speaker at the Cheltenham Festival. Scherzo,
a witty and elegant mystery set in eighteenth century Venice, was nominated for
the Booker Prize. All of his fiction has been published internationally. The English
Lady Murderers' Society is his tenth novel.
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