This is a novel of small-town life. In Castletown, New Zealand, the stifling culture of 'the correct way to behave' crushes the unorthodox like a dead hand.
Needless to say, just under the surface there is a tumult of rebellion. Which of the inhabitants of Castletown will escape, find self-expression, fulfill their dreams? Who is tormented by guilty secrets beneath a blanket of respectability? Who is murdering red-haired girls?
The narrative is driven by the stories of three families: the snobbish, long-established lawyers; the eccentric impoverished aristocrats; and the Maoris who live outside the town. Each family is dominated by a stern patriarch, and once a week the patriarchs meet to play three-handed chess. Their children and grandchildren, meanwhile, begin to recognize that this structured, ordered world is rotten at its core ...
Judy Corbalis was born and brought up in New Zealand. She later moved to London with her husband the admired sculptor Phillip King, who served as President of the Royal Academy. She trained at RADA, and has worked in TV and fringe and community theatre. Her children's books have been published by Deutsch, Hodder and Scholastic - children love them for their humour and the fact that no character behaves as expected. Judy Corbalis is a graduate of the famous MA course for creative writing at the university of East Anglia. Her novels include Mortmain.