Created by Nigel Williams
Dear Mr Gibbons, I am writing to you because I think my husband may be having sex.
I am not sure with whom he is having it but it is certainly not with me………..
— and so it begins.
Okay, so there’s these four married British couples, right? From Putney, a pretty well-to-do suburb located just southwest of London?
And anyway there’s a classics teacher and her husband, a successful barrister (QC); a dentist and his wife; a novelist and her doctor husband, and a retired BBC producer and his wife. They’re all in their sixties, all doing pretty well and are all living within a few blocks of each other. They all vacationed together in various parts of Europe for years, and are all good friends.
About ten years ago, the retired producer’s wife died, an apparent suicide, and the friendships sorta tapered off.
Until the former chums are all brought back together when the English teacher hires a local private detective, ORLANDO “ROLAND” GIBBONS, to tail her possibly straying husband. Which sets off a chain of events related in acavalcade of letters that zip back and forth between the former friends.
The book is told in the form of these often remarkably candid, sometimes just raunchy and often hilarious letters in Nigel Williams’ 2013 novel Unfaithfully Yours, a bedroom farce that strips aways layers of built-up hypocrisy, anger, envy, jealousy, pet peeves, resentment and desire. And all the secrets and lies, big and small, that make or break a relationship. Even Gibbons’ honesty is somewhat dubious.
Which would make him an unreliable narrator. If this book had a narrator, that is. As it stands, one has to piece together the story from what’s said (and not said) in the letters. Mind you, not all the questions a reader may have are answered. But that’s okay — you’ll be chuckling enough not to worry too much about it.
My only quibble? Letters? In 2013? Not email? Texts? Facebook messages?
But it works. Oh Lordy, it works. The dialogue just crackles and the wit just sizzles.
Author Nigel Williams’ first novel, My Life Closed Twice, won the Somerset Maugham Award, and he’s since had quite a long successful career, particularly in British television. He’s probably best known for the 2005 TV drama Elizabeth I, starring Helen Mirren, and for which he received an Emmy Award nomination for his script.
But don’t let that scare you away — among his other works worth checking out are the 1984 television mini-series Charlie, featuring a middle-aged private eye in London, and the blackly comic (and bestselling) The Wimbledon Poisoner Trilogy of novels, wherein a fat, schlubby lawyer begins to fancy himself a serial killer.
- “Nigel Williams has entertained me over the past couple of day with this comical tale of what could be called a suburban melt-down. There are some cracking one-liners in there (a couple of which I will be saving to use myself one day!).”
— Random Things Through My letterbox
- Unfaithfully Yours (2013) | Buy this book | Buy the audio
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.