A dark and uproarious tale of revenge.
Ten years have passed since Muriel Axon did her ma in, ten years of living in a mental asylum. But Muriel has not forgotten her welfare worker, Isabel, or her neighbor, Colin. Nor has she forgiven. There are still scores to be settled-and vengeance to be wreaked. In a novel that is wildly funny and daringly wicked, Mantel brings the full force of her black humor to bear on a cast of characters that is by turns wacky and malevolent. As Muriel dons disguises to get back at the world that imprisoned her, we follow a trail that is wonderfully macabre with enough twists and turns to qualify this book as a thriller.
The haunting sequel to Mantel's Every Day Is Mother's Day (see above) offers powerful insight into its precursor. Muriel Axon is the untouchable yet tarnished heroine here, and she selectively reveals her disturbing plans for revenge against all who vaguely knew and despised her. A decade after the close of the first book, Muriel has just been released from the institution where she was housed after her mother's suspicious death, and has since acquired new skills to aid her vengeful mission. Taking on the identity of "Poor Mrs. Wilmot," she rents a room from paranoid Russian landlord Mr. Kowalski and works the night shift as a cleaning lady at St. Matthew Hospital, where, not coincidentally, she assumes an unlikely bedside manner with the elder Mrs. Sidney and her former social worker Isabel Field's bedridden father. Mrs. Sidney's son, Colin; his wife, Sylvia; and their four children have moved into the former Axon home despite its history as a house of violent tragedy. Even after a renovation and the help of a new though odd housekeeper, Lizzie Blank, the house refuses to be maintained. Although Colin ended an affair years ago, the strain of being the breadwinner while being ignored by the civic-minded Sylvia and hassled by his money-grubbing teenagers allows him to entertain the fantasy of finding his lost lover. And he does reconnect, thanks in part to his naive, 18-year-old daughter. Surprise revelations from start to finish mark Mantel as a remarkably clever writer whose second book, paired with her first, makes for wickedly pleasurable reading. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|