Edward Feathers, aka Old Filth (an acronym for “Failed in London, Try Hong Kong”), Gardam’s proper lawyer and judge, is back for a second outing (after Old Filth), this time as seen through the eyes of his wife, Betty. Lately returned from her wartime work at Bletchley Park and now a regular among the expat community of Hong Kong, Betty is cocooned in comfortable gentility with Filth, a loving but distant husband largely preoccupied with his legal life. After a childhood spent in a Japanese labor camp, she is now unable to have children and largely unfocused; her brief premarital fling with Filth’s arch enemy, Terry Veneering, creates an enduring bond with him and his young son, Harry, who fills a void in her life.
Verdict: Admirers of Old Filth will be delighted to discover the backstory of his marriage and to renew acquaintances with a dear friend. Those meeting him and Mrs. Feathers for the first time will surely want more. An elegant portrait of an old-world marriage. Highly recommended
By Barbara Love