Monday 21 June 2021

The Birthday Present

Finished June 14
The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine

This is one that I missed when it came out, although I generally enjoy her books. The story is told by a man who is the brother-in-law of an up-and-coming Conservative politician in the days of Maggie Thatcher. The politician, Ivor Tesham, is in his early thirties, and unmarried. He has been having an affair with Hebe Furnal, a young married mother looking for more excitement that her marriage has offered her. She likes his expensive gifts, like pearl necklaces, and the excitement of the liaisons. For her birthday, Ivor has decided to surprise her. She is told to wear suggestive clothing, and he arranges for two men to take her off the street, like they are kidnapping her, and bring her to the house where he waits for her. The house he is at is that of the brother-in-law and his sister. They are away for the weekend, and he has borrowed their house before. This is to keep his affair from coming to the public eye.
But this time, something goes terribly wrong, and the car the men are driving is in an accident. Hebe is dead, one of the men is dead, and the other man is badly hurt and left in a coma. Ivor is in a panic about what to do, and he ends up making the choice to not come forward. 
Many things happen because of his decision, innocent people have their lives upended, and the threat of discovery hangs over Ivor going forward. As he tries to stay on the periphery of those affected, he finds himself affected nevertheless.
This wasn't my favourite by the author, but the plot was an intriguing one. I didn't really connect to the characters though.

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