A Helping Hand


Author Celia Dale

Middle-aged Josh and Maisie Evans lead an unremarkable, unassuming life. When Auntie Flo, who has lived with them for years, 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. It’s there they meet Mrs Fingal. A wealthy widow, she lives with her grown-up niece Lena and it’s pretty clear that neither is happy with the situation. So when Josh and Maisie bond with Mrs Fingal, over ice-cream and gentle toddles, it’s only natural that they all decide she should must move in with them once home. It suits everyone.

Beneath the suburban respectability of cups of tea and genteel chitchat, however, emerges a different tale: one of ruthless greed and exploitation, and suffocating, skin-crawling terror.

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 the real horrors of this world can all too often be found behind discreet net curtains and the quietly nondescript.

‘Explores the true cost of kindness, and makes for a perfectly sinister read.’ Vogue

‘Queen of the eerie, Celia Dale takes you on an unforgettable tale.’ Stylist

‘A brilliant, subtle suspense novel, as fresh today as when it was written in 1966.’ Saga

‘A fascinating portrayal of dysfunctional relationship, resentments, greed and opportunities very sharply observed’ Paul Burke, Crime Time FM

‘With stealthy prose, Dale spins a story of kindness exploited, in a totally beautiful, terrifying suburban horror.’ The Face magazine

‘Dale’s genius, here, is in the cruelties, joys, transactions of ordinary life.’ Lunate

‘The queen of suburban horror . . . a sharply observant writer with a great eye for detail, her accuracy, understanding and quiet wit made her writing a cut above the run-of-the-mill crime novel.’ The Times

‘Celia Dale’s writing is quiet, clever, subtle – and terrifying. I can’t think of anyone whose stories of suspense I appreciate more.’ Ruth Rendell

‘The accuracy, understanding and quiet wit of Jane Austen – plus murder.’ H. R. F. Keating

‘Quietly shattering . . . a very nice piece of nasty business.’ Kirkus Reviews

‘It is bleak, masterly — and occasionally beautiful ’ Catriona Ward