17/07/2001

The High Flyer (by Susan Howatch)

Susan Howatch is one of my favourite modern writers. Her books are psychological masterpieces, plumbing the depths of human frailties and weaknesses, yet with an encouraging message of hope.

'The High Flyer', which is a sort of sequel to 'A Question of Integrity' (although it would stand alone without difficulty, as it focuses mainly on completely new characters) is second in the 'St Benet's' trilogy.

Carter Graham is an efficient business manager, married to someone similar. After introducing them, the book takes us back temporarily to their courtship, and the tensions they've had, exacerbated by an ex-wife who seems determined to cause trouble.

As Carter discovers more and more about her husband's past, she becomes increasingly worried. Occult links appear, and when she finally decides to talk to the ex-wife, she is prevented from doing so in a shocking way.

The plot moves rapidly towards an exciting climax, even if it does seem a little melodramatic. Nick, Lewis and Alice (previous characters) appear, seen from Carter's viewpoint, but there's not much about them in the book.

Rather different from Howatch's other books, but I found it gripping and well worth reading.

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