Friday, November 15, 2013

The Small Hours of the Morning: Review

Lorna Gibson is a very lonely, very repressed woman.  She longs for contact with someone special, but she doesn't have the personal skills to make it possible.  She begins living vicariously through the lives of Cecil Titmuss and his family.  Spying on them with binoculars and imagining what it must be like to have such a devoted husband, she becomes abnormally attached to the methodical, quiet librarian.

Ray Brett is a two-bit hood looking for a few big scores to get him out of Felsbury and into London where the action is.  By day, he's a delivery man--scoping out businesses and figuring out when the owners and clerks will be transporting cash to the bank or the night deposit.  By night, he manages a couple of hit, snatch and runs, but his life of financial crime is on a collision course with murder and mayhem.

Ted Jessop offers a taxi service in Felsbury.  His clients are primarily elderly folks who can't manage the drive themselves, a few wealthy businessmen, and an occasional tourist.  He's good-looking and unattached and knows how to show a lady a good time without getting entangled.  Then he hooks up with one lady too many.  You know this just can't end well....

Cecil Titmuss likes his world to be orderly.  He's a librarian who never shelves a book in the wrong spot.  He empties his pockets at night and lines his coins up by size and denomination.  He spends his evenings methodically building elaborate models with matchsticks.  And somehow this quiet, ordinary, unexciting man lucked into marriage with the beautiful, vivacious June.  He's afraid to shower her with too much attention....she might realize how unexciting he is.

June Titmuss was caught on the rebound.  Her fiance had taken off with another woman and the quiet, dependable Cecil was just what she needed to make her feel safe after the emotional upheaval.  But, now, two children later, she's feeling the weight of routine and spreading her wings through night classes and a part-time job.  Will she fly even further?

Margaret Yorke spins a tale of murder born out of misplaced love.  As the story builds, it's obvious that Lorna is a disturbed woman...what isn't obvious is just exactly how she will act upon her repressed feelings.  The descriptions of small town life and the normal atmosphere in contrast with Lorna's perceptions are apt.  However, there is a slightly claustrophobic feel to the story and the characters are a little too pat without being quite stereotypical. An interesting psychological study of a woman who just really needs a way to relate to other people.  As a side note--I really wanted to be able to tell Cecil and June to just talk to each other, for goodness sake--as in real life, so much unpleasantness could have been avoided with just a little heartfelt communication.  Three stars.

1 comment:

Tea norman said...

I like this one. Have been looking for your blog. For some reason, I'm very much into mysteries, old and new lately.