"'Will you do my back and under my arms?' asked Katie, handing to Frances the tin of Rose Geranium. "And then I will do yours.'
"What a lovely smell. It's so much nicer than mine,' said Frances, dredging Katie as thoroughly as if she were a fillet of fish being prepared for the frying pan." In these short stories, first published in 1958, Elizabeth Taylor pursues the nuances of ordinary life with her usual dexterity. There's the upright Mrs Allen who unwittingly provides an alibi for Mrs Lacey, her "slackly corseted" home help; Emily who has written fluent and amusing letters to a distinguished novelist for ten years but descends into small talk when they meet; Katie, Natalie and Frances, preparing for their first dance amidst a cloud of talcum powder and bathroom giggles; and the strained conversation between ex-lovers Peter and Catherine at her children's seaside barbecue. "Here Mrs Taylor displays her gift - her quite extraordinary gift - for sheer situation - not a tale here fails to expand in the imagination of the reader" - Elizabeth Bowen