Private Parts in Public Places Author:Robin Cook Robin Cooks corrosive novel blasts the psyche of the British upper middle class, singling out those overbred types who can neither return to the live of their forbears nor adjust to an alien contemporary scene. For these curiously displaced persons cut off from cultural mainstream by lack of funds and outmoded schooling, survival is a daily chal... more »lenge. How they meet is the theme of this mordantly brilliant, often schoking tale.
It all centers on the anachronistic Lady Quench, who raps her tattered illusions about her in a disintegrated milieu. From an enormous country house, with a dying husband and a rude but indispensable butler, she doggedly carries on, issuing commands in the idiom of the twenties and insisting that everyone be tickety-boo. Nobody is. The only activity left to her is cerebral, but, given her background, this comes hard.
Her brazen nephew Viper, compromising with fact instead of fancy, has made a fortune running a chain of pornographic shops in London with a blind but perceptive mistress. Lord Michael Mendip, his faggoty cousin and partner, is fascinated by Vipers hard headed success, but ineffectually struggles against him to show concern for pathetic human beings like Lady Quenchs elder daughter, Lydia. The gorgeous Lydia poses for dirty pictures whenever her dress allowance is cut off, whichn is often and yearns for sexual fulfillment, which eludes her many promiscuous efforts. Her sister, Beatrice, has given up on people altogether and become a theoretical but dismally involved Marxist.
The plot boils when a Greek tycoon falls madly in love with Lydia and tries to save her. His appearance at Lady Quenchs estate,along with Viper, Michael and a sodden Lydia, who arrives with a scruffy looking salesman acquired in route, is the signal for this black comedy to explode in horrific climax. Like acid eating into a metal plate to produce a memorable etching, this authors highly individual style creates a searing vision of a superflous class in decline.« less