Stonewood has taken care with the production of this short book containing three stories. The format is the size of the a postcard and the whole is easy to read on a short train journey.
Of the three stories, the first and longest, the title story is the best. Hoad – no first name – is the owner of an art gallery whose prize piece is a Chinese jade vase. One day a young Chinese woman comes to the gallery and is interested in the piece, she returns and Hoad finds her interest is deeper than that of a normal viewer or even a connoisseur. The author writes “Slowly, and with the poise of a performer, she slid her right foot from her shoe and, without looking at Hoad, appeared to admire her pink painted toenails. Caught off guard, Hoad felt momentarily unbalanced.” As I did, reading the story on a short train journey, as good short stories can make you. As to what happens to the woman and the vase, well…
The second story just about works, though should be avoided by anyone worried about rats. while the third is a mementi mori which has a good outcome.
I’d not come across this author before and will certainly look out for her later work, for there will be later work.