Stephen Fry praised Julian Fellowes' previous novel, Snobs
, as 'a guilty treat'. A Sunday Times
bestseller, it won praise and an enthusiastic readership across the world. Its successor, Past Imperfect
, is another treat, an enthralling comedy of manners, but with an intriguing conundrum at its heart.
Damian Baxter is very rich and dying. He lives alone, attended by chauffeur, butler, cook and a housemaid, a life of everything and nothing. Before he goes he needs to know if he has a living heir. At stake is his fortune - in excess, he reckons, of £500 million. By the time he married he was sterile (the result of adult mumps in his early twenties), but what about before that unfortunate illness? Had he fathered a child as a young man?
An anonymous letter from twenty years before suggests so. But finding the truth will not prove easy, as the only man who knows where to look is Damian's sworn enemy.
Often funny and on occasion even shocking, the twists and turns of Past Imperfect will leave readers as intrigued as Damian at the eventual outcome.
Just as in his bestselling book Snobs, Julian Fellowes shows himself a wonderful storyteller with characters superbly observed. Here is the Jane Austen of the twenty-first century with more than an acerbic dash of Evelyn Waugh.
©2008 Julian Fellowes; (P)2008 Orion Publishing Group Ltd