To fully appreciate this novel the reader is asked to accept that a innocent prank can result in misery and madness and that responsible adults may not appreciate the significance of the joke. Told in the first person by 'Smudge' an identical twin, she describes how the prank results in her descent from delinquency to insanity. Strong characterisation, fast paced, brilliant on family dynamics, extremely disturbing but totally compulsive reading.
The sound was coming from the phone receiver dangling next to her. Cautiously she reached for it and held it to her ear. 'Ellie' said the phone, 'it's mother'. And then 'Look, I haven't got time to play silly buggers. I know it's your number ....' 'All right. If that's the way you want it,' continued the phone. 'I'm ringing about Helen'. A sigh. 'Well, there's been an accident and I'm afraid she's in a coma. There. The others thought I should tell you. Left to myself, I probably wouldn't have b-but there we are at least this way you won't hear about it first on the news.' ... Another pause and then angrily, 'Don't you have anything to say?' .... Smudge closed her eyes and took a deep breath. 'I'm afraid you've got the wrong number,'she said, laying the words out one by one like coins on the counter of the offie.