The place is Ceylon, the time the 1930s. Set amid tea plantations, corruption and the backwash of empire, this is a world teetering on the edge of chaos. Sam Obeysekere is a Ceylonese lawyer, a perfect product of empire. His family, which once had wealth and influence, starts to crack open as political change comes to the island, and Sam's glamorous father dies leaving gambling debts. At the heart of the novel is the Hamilton case, a murder scandal that shakes the upper echelons of island society; Sam's involvement in it makes his name but sets his life on course of disappointment.
"A novel so delicious that you have to keep stopping as you read, for fear of finishing too soon"
"A bewitching tale...an utterly captivating blend of intellectual muscle and story-telling magic"
"Reminiscent of The Remains of the Day. De Kretser has given us the classic whodunnit wrapped up in a beautiful and tragic literary novel"
"Haunting, lush and delicately nuanced"
"Rewarding, thought-provoking, witty and often disconcerting, the novel takes the reader into a world of transformations - conjuring a fiction which is tantalizingly vivid"