After nineteen years of a loveless marriage, Angela Cruickshank's patience is exhausted at long last as she returns from France. Inevitably she goes to stay with her old friends Clem and Kattie — Kattie who catches people as other people catch colds, collector of strays and lame ducks, and who somehow fits into her big rambling house on the Downs. Kattie has other guests, of course — Hugh Hansard, a talented but disorganized composer whose wife has just left him, as well as Fergus Slack, not long out of a short stretch in Dartmoor, ex-dope dealer and practised layabout looking for his next move. To add to the mixture is Kattie's beautiful yet mythomaniac daughter Dorelia, home from her Swiss boarding school.
The comic accidents of Kattie's random household give rise to more sinister events as Angela's husband comes to claim her while Fergus, pursued by the local police, takes off with Dorelia as his hostage. First published in 1989, the action is fast and funny, and Annie Bullen has a sharp ear for the accents of English country life in the 1980s.