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The End of Tragedy

By (author) Rachel Ingalls
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Faber & Faber, London, United Kingdom
Published: 12th Oct 1987
Dimensions: w 140mm h 220mm
ISBN-10: 0571148409
ISBN-13: 9780571148400
Barcode No: 9780571148400

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Kirkus US
An actress notices an anonymous admirer out front, staring at her raptly, night after night. A housewife finds the key to the locked attic and streaks upstairs to her husband's workplace, forbidden territory. In her latest short-fiction collection, Ingalls takes corny situations (that's half the fun, of course) and works her magic on them - in another bravura display of suspenseful storytelling. In the first story, "Friends in the Country," a couple find their relationship coming unglued while staying overnight in a country house that is pure Charles Addams: creepy butlers, flickering candlelight, revolting unidentifiable food, and toads in the shower. "An Artist's Life" concerns two Scandinavian friends, Axel and Eino, struggling to be artists in Paris; 20 years later, back in Scandinavia, the talented Eino is flourishing, still sentimentally bound to the alcoholic, untalented Axel. The story is overloaded, though; the one weak offering. "In the Act" is the standout. What housewife Helen finds in her pathologist husband's attic is a life-size sex doll, so expertly assembled that it can pass for human. Furious at this competition, she hides Dolly in a locker at the train station and refuses to reveal its whereabouts until Edgar has made a "companion piece" for her: "a male escort: presentable, amusing, and a real stud." But, in the interim, Dolly is stolen; husband, wife and thief will slug it out in a devastating conclusion to some wonderful black comedy. Finally, in the title story, actress Mamie unwisely decides that her admirer is Mr. Right - unwisely, because urbane ladies' man Carter Mathews just wants to use Mamie in a complicated scheme to collect some money from a family of rich bankers. Mamie emerges victorious, however, in a hair-raising finale worthy of Hitchcock, on the edge of an Alpine precipice. Sumptuous entertainment, from a master of the craft. (Kirkus Reviews)