In the past months Mrs Fingal’s legs had grown very weak. She could move from the bed to the chair only if she held on to the furniture. ‘Be careful, dear,’ Mrs Evans would say, beating up the pillows and clearing away all the oddments hidden under them, ‘you don’t want to fall and break your leg.’
This is a tale of ruthless greed, exploitation and suffocating, skin-crawling terror.
Middle-aged Josh and Maisie Evans lead a seemingly unremarkable life. When their elderly lodger Flo dies and leaves them her Estate, they head to Italy on holiday, to take in the sea air and let the sun soak into their bones. There they meet Mrs Fingal, a wealthy widow who lives unhappily with her grown-up niece. When Josh and Maisie bond with her over ice-cream and daily ambles, it’s only natural that they arrange for her to move in with them once home. It suits everyone.
For fans of Shirley Jackson, Roald Dahl and Muriel Spark, A Helping Hand is a sharp and nasty slice of darkness, and a reminder that beneath the suburban respectability of cups of tea and genteel chitchat another world lurks, and that the real horrors of this world can all too often be found behind discreet net curtains.