Deadly Sins by Nicholas Coleridge

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Deadly Sins by Nicholas Coleridge

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A comedy of manners for the twenty-first century and a rollicking good read as we see how the rich live - and get their comeuppances. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 512 Date: April 2009
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 978-0752886190

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There are some books which you gladly pass on to other reviewers, some which you grab yourself – and then there are the ones you take yourself because other people are frowning. Deadly Sins was one of those books and it was all because of a recommendation on the cover – from Jeffrey Archer. I bit the bullet - and then struggled to work out where the weekend had gone.

Miles Straker falls firmly in the category of self-made men who worship their creator. He has his own PR Agency and it's big: one of the major supermarkets is a steady client and he's in a position to do work for the Conservative Party – pro bono, of course. He's used to getting what he wants - from a demand for salt flakes rather than crystals at the luncheon party, through to his country house which looks down the Test valley in Hampshire. There's just one blot on the landscape – quite literally, in fact.

In sight of the house is an old cottage – Silas's Cottage – and Straker has had it in mind to buy the property when Silas, er, moves on. It could be a trysting place for him or an art studio for his wife but it's really a case of wanting to own what he surveys that drives his need to get hold of the cottage. It's something of a shock (things like this are not allowed to happen to Miles Straker) when he sees that building work is beginning across the valley.

It's a body blow when he discovers that the property has been bought by Ross Clegg, owner of Freeza Mart – a down-market cash-and-carry supermarket chain. Even worse, Clegg is going to demolish the cottage and build afresh. Given that the Cleggs are from up north – well, Droitwich – Miles is right to be worried that the house is going to be naff. It's a monstrosity which begins to dominate Miles' thinking.

And so two men come into conflict. Strangely though, Ross doesn't immediately realise that he is in conflict with Straker. He's a decent man who's got where he is through hard work, but Straker's machinations will eventually bring both men to the brink of destruction. That's a long way in the future though and we watch as the wives and children of the two men mix and, er, match for good and ill over the years. It's a story you can't put down and although it's a little heavy on coincidence that's a minor niggle.

It's a comedy of manners for the twenty-first century, laugh aloud funny in places and insightful in others. It's not the book for you if you're looking for subtle characters, but if you enjoy a rollicking good read then you should get hold of a copy as soon as you can.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this type of book appeals to you then we think that you might also enjoy Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday.

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