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Beryl Bainbridge is the author of seventeen novels, two travel books and five plays, she has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, and has won many literary awards including the Whitbread Prize and the Author of the Year Award at the British Book Awards.
Ranks among the finest of Bainbridge's fine works of fiction . . .
Sombre, terrifying and hilarious -- Paul Bailey * Independent *
A tour de force . . . the comedy is marvellously black -- Mark Bostridge * Financial Times *
The Girl in the Polka-dot Dress is very gripping, very funny and deeply mysterious . . . Washington Harold is a superbly self-preoccupied monster, one of Bainbridge's best creations -- A. N. Wilson * Spectator *
Blazes with Bainbridge's unique talent . . . The Girl in the Polka-dot Dress is a superb and memorable work of fiction -- Melvyn Bragg * Observer *
In Bainbridge's (1932-2010) final, unfinished novel, she transports readers to the spring of 1968. In this era of high-profile assassinations Rose, a damaged young Englishwoman, arrives in Baltimore to begin a cross-country odyssey in search of Dr. Wheeler, a member of Robert Kennedy's entourage. Rose met Wheeler in the U.K. and fell somewhat in love, as he provided much needed solace from her unhappy life: warring parents, a child taken away and given up for adoption. Accompanying Rose on her trip is Washington Harold, a friend of a friend, who also seeks Wheeler, but his motives are more sinister: Washington Harold's wife committed suicide after having an affair with Wheeler, and he wants revenge. The story reaches its apogee in L.A. at the Ambassador Hotel, where the private fates of these two people collide with RFK's very public one. Assembled by Bainbridge's editor from her manuscript after her death, this is a novel that the author longed to complete; the pacing isn't always right and the characters could be more sharply defined. Still, for lovers of Bainbridge's oeuvre, this is the book that places the period at the end of her life's work and shouldn't be missed. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In this posthumous novel, British author Bainbridge paints a hypothetical picture of what might have been happening in 1968 America amid the turmoil of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Through young English Rose and her unlikely companion, known to her as Washington Harold, the reader is taken on a cross-country trip in search of the elusive Dr. Wheeler, an acquaintance of both. Along the way, the pair always seem one step behind their mysterious quarry and meet a host of interesting characters who all have a link to this man. Rose wants to find Dr. Wheeler because he is the one stable and bright spot from her troubled childhood. Washington's reasons for finding Dr. Wheeler do not become clear until a surprise ending. All aspects of this novel come together in an exciting and curious encounter with presidential candidate Robert Kennedy. VERDICT Both vivid and dark, this page-turner is sure to be sought after by both historical fiction and mystery lovers. Highly recommended.-Leann Restaino, Girard, OH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.