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Edward is throwing a dinner party with Binny , his mistress. Aware that she has long been denied those small intimacies that his wife takes for granted – choosing a birthday present for his sister, for example, or sorting his socks – he wants to give her a chance to feel more involved in his life, to socialise with some of his friends (the discreet ones). Things are a little awkward to begin with – a late start and him having to be away by half past ten – but everything seems to be going well. But then some uninvited, and reather forceful guests arrive, and it doesn’t look like Edward is going to make it home on time.

Reviews

Beryl Bainbridge is a genuine original, with a macabre imagination and a wonderful gift for catching tones of speech
NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
I found myself laughing till the tears ran down my cheeks ... it is all horribly true to life ... a most excellent book and no one should miss it
Auberon Waugh
Painfully comical and well observed ... the constant frissons of anxiety and embarassment make it all the funnier
SUNDAY TIMES