Synopsis: It’s the story of a street Pepys Road in London, and the inhabitants, who are targeted by someone, who sticks postcards with a simple message ‘We want what you have’ through their letterboxes. It also takes in the stories of those that work on the street.
The characters living on Pepys Road are Roger a banker, Roger’s wife Arabella, Roger’s nanny Matya, Petunia a elderly woman suffering a brain tumour,
It’s not a book that I found all that funny, despite the fact that the reviews on the cover seemed to focus on the humour. I didn’t really understand why certain of the characters were included to such a extent, either, as Lanchester dedicates a section to Quentina, a traffic warden who occasionally walks down the street, as well as including the story of Zbignew, a Polish builder who does work on the houses of two residents. I didn’t understand why there was so much dedicated to Petunia’s grandson- a artist who has copied Banksy’s anonymity, as he wasn’t a hugely likable character, although he does have a good deal to do with the mystery.
To me Lanchester would have been better just focusing on the lives of the residents, instead of shoehorning the mystery element into the plot as well.