Chaos comes thick and fast when paper tigers gain their stripes and innocent people start dying .
A dark yet humorous take on feuding families, the evolution of relationships in stressful times, and the vagaries of human emotions in moments of crisis.
The surprise news of Caroline and Dominic’s impending divorce has provoked a variety of contrasting reactions from family members. Expressions of amazement and regret could have been expected, but there are those who take a more sceptical and sanguine view.
Caroline’s father, Len, a retired police inspector, swears he saw it coming. After all, his daughter was always too good for the man she married. He has told her so on numerous occasions. She just needed to look at Charlie, her father-in-law, to see that Dominic was the unfortunate, flawed offspring of dysfunctional parents.
For former used-car trader, Charlie, the prospect of that devious snob, Len, contriving to restrict his access to the grandchildren is just too much to stomach. The arrogant copper has always gone out of his way to demonstrate his superiority and belittle Charlie's Cockney background and life choices. Time for a reckoning.
Over the years, the pent-up hatred of the two men for each other has been contained under a veneer of civility. As the truth behind the break-up of the marriage surfaces, their paranoia takes a sinister turn.
Ignoring the pleas of their long-suffering wives, both men seek to gain the upper hand by involving family and friends in a clandestine attempt to dig up dirt on each other. But raking over the past takes an unexpected twist as their quest to find skeletons in the cupboards uncovers treacherous liaisons, awakes dormant emotions and rekindles old animosities.
‘The only bath towel I could find was this lemony thing with love hearts all over. I think you’ll agree it’s rather twee, so I thought I’d wear this.’ Lance stood at the foot of the bed with the towel wrapped around his waist, a pink shower cap on his head and a hand on his waist as he turned his elbow outwards. ‘What do you think?’ he said, twirling around.
Sylvia sat, a sheet pulled up to cover her neck. ‘Very fetching. Twee is a good word. It aptly describes the boyfriend who bought it for me.’ Her expression hardened. ‘Listen, I need to say something.’
Before she could continue, he held his hand out to stop her. ‘Let me guess. I think it goes something like, “I want you to know I’m not an easy lay. I don’t go to bed with somebody on the first date. Last night was the exception, not the rule. If there is to be a relationship, we need to reset the clock for the future.” How does that sound?’
She pulled her knees up under her chin. ‘More or less. I hadn’t got as far as the sentence about a relationship.’
Lance put on a hurt expression. ‘You’re not telling me this was just a one-night stand; a quick shag and off to work?’
‘I don’t know what I’m telling you. This is bizarre. Last week you’re humping my brother and now it’s my turn. It’s like you’re working your way through the family.’
‘I’ll stick. I don’t fancy twisting.’
She shook her head. ‘This isn’t a game of cards. It isn’t a game at all. There is no way you can tell Dom about last night. He’ll think all sorts of things of me.’
As he moved toward her, his foot pinned the towel to the floor, forcing the tuck at his waist to come free. The towel slipped down his legs and came to rest at his feet. He could sense she was appraising his body, head to toes. He fell onto the bed covers alongside her. ‘You don’t think I haven’t been wrestling with the situation? It’s been taxing my mind.’
‘I got the impression last night that very little taxes your mind.’