The Finest Type of English Womanhood
Two girls who have never met escape from the drab restrictions of post World War 2 Britain, their destination South Africa. Innocent and bewildered 17-year-old bride Laura Lovell struggles for understanding in this hot, disturbing alien land where nothing is explained and knowledge no sooner gained than discredited. Actress Gay Gibson’s diary shows a fiercely ambitious and manipulative young woman whose compelling attractions spell danger: but for whom? Her motives are obscure, her actions self-damaging.
The meeting of the two girls brings Laura grief and more confusion but a growing maturity as she demonstrates her own resourcefulness. Gay is apparently a desperately sick woman living on alcohol, cigarettes, her own nerves and valiant determination. They decide to return to England together.
The news of Gay’s disappearance from the liner Durban Castle en route from South Africa is a welcome sensation in shabby, war-torn Britain. The glamorous vanished protagonist and enticing rumours of all manner of vice lead to a notorious and well documented murder trial.
This book could have given readers a commonplace story of lust in a hot climate. Instead the author has created a surreal 20th-century scenario with the quality of a grim fairy tale where the normal threatens to become monstrous and clues must be followed which may prove to be true or false. An accomplished and successful first novel.