It is wartime London, and the carelessness of people with no future flows through the evening air. Stella discovers that her lover Robert is suspected of selling information to the enemy. Harrison, the British intelligence agent on his trail, wants to bargain, the price for his silence being Stella herself. Caught between two men and unsure who she can trust, the flimsy structures of Stella's life begin to crumble.
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Probably the most intelligent noir ever written...The situation is surreal, the psychologizing profound, and the eerie inwardness trapped in Bowen's distinctive prose resonates inside a peculiar silence that fills the reader's heart with dread - Los Angeles Times
One of three quintessential London 'war' novels, the others being Patrick Hamilton's Hangover Square and Graham Greene's The End of the Affair. No other novel conjures the spooky solemnity of the Blitz so adroitly - Time Out
A tensely charged story of betrayal - Independent
Marvellously witty, poetic and socially perceptive novels... she is bang on form with The Heat of the Day - Independent
This world reminds you of both Henry James and Graham Greene...a world both placid and violently fractured...Bowen's prose is crisp and precise, but also suggestive and haunting...She combines moral refinement and pitiless but compasionate understanding - Sunday Times
A haunting novel of bad faith and betrayal - Guardian
Brilliant descriptions of London during the Blitz - Spectator
[Bowen] startles us by sheer originality of mind and boldness of sensibility into seeking our world afresh. . . . Out of the plainest things--the drawing of a curtain--she can make something electric and urgent -
Dense as a poem with symbol and suggestion. . . The work of a writer [of] rich and winning gifts - Time
Imagine a Graham Greene thriller projected through the sensibility of Virginia Woolf - Atlantic Monthly
a book of signal wit and beauty that shows many ways of being a woman under intolerable strain... The electrifying ubiquity of danger - the novel is set in London under the Blitz - summons tenderness and the appetite for life. London itself breathes, turns and glows throughout - The Lady
Elizabeth Bowen was born in Dublin in 1899, the only child of an Irish lawyer and land-owner. She travelled a great deal, dividing most of her time between London and Bowen's Court, the family house in County Cork which she inherited. Her first book, a collection of shorts stories, Encounters, was published in 1923. The Hotel (1926) was her first novel. She was awarded the CBE in 1948, and received honorary degrees from Trinity College, Dublin in 1949, and from Oxford University in 1956. The Royal Society of Literature made her a Companion of Literature in 1965. Elizabeth Bowen died in 1973.