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When Percy and Betty Harlency abandon their seedy Streatham pub, for the Copper Kettle Tearoom in Kent, life for their daughter April changes dramatically. She is befriended by the wonderfully dangerous Ruby, whose red hair and brutal home life emphasise her love of fire, and by the immaculately dressed Mr Greenridge who likes to follow her around the village. Mingling the incent with the sinister and laced with the tragic and the bizarre, this is a rare evocation of a 1950s childhood.
Shena Mackay was born in Edinburgh. She is the author of four previous collections of stories - Babies in Rhinestones, Dreams of Dead Women's Handbags, The Laughing Academy and The World's Smallest Unicorn. Her novels include Dunedin, The Orchard on Fire (which was shortlisted for the 1996 Booker Prize), The Artist's Widow and Heligoland (which was shortlisted for the 2003 Orange Prize).