Perfect Form, Questionable Character; Books

Article excerpt

Byline: A.N. WILSON

THE LIGHT OF DAY by Graham Swift (Hamish Hamilton, u16.99)

GEORGE Webb was thrown out of the police force for losing his temper while interviewing a suspect and putting his hands round his throat (but he's a loveable old throttler: the man he attacked was a racist). George is now a private investigator, snooping on adulterers.

On one such case, he fell into the arms of the lovely Rita - or rather, not to be too indelicate, she fell into his groin.

She now works as his PA and fellow investigator. The scene is Wimbledon.

George is separated from his wife; and his daughter, with whom he has distant relations, is a lesbian.

George is a regular prison-visitor. He goes to see a woman called Sarah Nash, who was one of his clients. She hired him to go to the airport and watch her husband, a gynaecologist, say goodbye to his Croatian girlfriend, Kristina.

Sarah wants to know whether this girl is leaving, and whether the philandering gynaecologist will go with her.

George has to ring her to give her the news. When he rings to say that her husband is on the way home, she sounds overjoyed. She goes upstairs, changes into her slinkiest black dress, puts on a string of pearls, and sharpens the kitchen knife. She's chopping parsley to scatter over the coq au vin, but when the gynaecologist gets home, something comes over her, and he ends up lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood. …