The Masters of the House

Robert Barnard, Author Scribner Book Company $20 (214p) ISBN 978-0-684-19728-9
Veteran Barnard (A Fatal Attachment), never a formulaic plotter, delivers a moving, low-keyed story set in the English city of Leeds in the late 1970s. After Ellen Heenan, mother of four, dies with her baby in childbirth, her unemployed husband Dermot collapses and the teenagers Matthew and Annie take over, driven by a desperate fear of being split up and ``taken into care.'' The two tend to their helpless father in his upstairs bedroom, care for the younger boys and go to school-all the while hiding Dermot's breakdown fom the outside world. Weeks later, a new problem arises with the intrusive visits of Carmen O'Keefe, whose persistence confirms Matthew's suspicions of Dermot's infidelity. Upon the discovery of Carmen's body, knifed to death, on their doorstep one night, the two handle the crisis with their newly developed cool. Their secret upstairs is soon uncovered by Carmen's visiting Irish mother-in-law, who promply takes loving charge of the family and raises the children to adulthood. Not until then, despite Matthew's fitful investigative efforts, is Carmen's killer revealed in this affecting story whose gentle tone belies its chilling solution while paying homage to its gutsy young siblings. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1994
Release date: 09/01/1994
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-380-72511-3
Hardcover - 300 pages - 978-0-7862-0329-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 410 pages - 978-1-85695-937-7
Paperback - 300 pages - 978-0-7451-7802-8
Hardcover - 300 pages - 978-0-7451-3649-3
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4767-3717-1
Paperback - 194 pages - 978-1-4472-3957-4
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