A novella and five short stories set in the middle class England of the author; even there parts of some peoples’ lives are kept from others.
Many people have investigated their family history; in the early days, this meant visits to public record offices, which for some involved travel to other towns. Some were hoping, or fearing, to find skeletons in cupboards. Others have found cousins of distant kinship engaged in the same investigation. Both these themes come together in The Secret Sits a novella spanning the centuries; the details of the life of a late nineteenth century Yorkshire businessman, who was airbrushed out of family history, because of a scandal, are finally revealed when his family gains access to the censuses of the period. The scandal caused a rift in the family and one branch may have lost an inheritance.
The other parts of the work are short stories. In Roy a bombastic self confident fourth former in a 1950s grammar school who disappears into obscurity. In Helena a rather lonely, late middle aged woman in a Midlands town may have found love when she meets a charming, handsome, but somewhat secretive man. In The Lost Phone a chance encounter leads a widowed man to find two sisters searching for family secrets; they become his new family. The Strange Tale of Walter Greenough is about a man who tries to create his own secret life, but is unmasked. Sue’s Caff is a busy city centre eatery with a largely working class clientele; Sue describes a notable day when secrets were shared, though one man is brought to a sort of poetic justice.