For a debut novel by a twenty-something, this book is impressive. It tells the story of James Farrell, a twenty-two-year-old budding musician in London whose life changes drastically the moment he meets Ella Harcourt, wearing a black dress, with a string of pearls around her neck, sitting on a park bench one early morning.
James is sucked into the intrigues of her family little realising that his innocence and unworldliness are his worst enemies, as he becomes a mere pawn in the silent battle between Ella and her cousin Sarah.
The whole story is being narrated by a wiser, more experienced Farrell at seventy.
The most striking aspect of the novel is Mason's grasp of human character in its various shades of passion, friendship, selfishness, insecurity, greed, revenge and finally murder. His style is ornately descriptive and his exploration of the psyche of a man who's falling over himself to give the right explanations for every step that he has taken in his long life is noteworthy.
This is a tale by a promising young author about the darker human emotions that is guaranteed to hold your interest.This article was first published on 05 Jun 2000.