When two old ladies in Palm Beach decide that too many of the 'slugs' of our race get away with murder, they hire an English housewife to do some routine pest control...This process of weeding, of selecting and discarding, dominates Lisa St Aubin de Teran's first collection of short stories. Garter, a lonely Clapham Common road-sweeper who befriends a schoolgirl is 'moved on'; if a country cottage is to be the haven Miss Lizzie has longed for, she must first exterminate hordes of rats; a suspected witch and unwilling mother complains of acquaintances invading her mind and within a week they are dead; an abandoned child remains loyal to the memory of her sailor father, comforted over the years by the sound of the sea. Her characters inadvertently trap themselves in cycles of punishment or live in self-imposed exile, searching for love as an elusive form of escape. The natural and man-made worlds alternately complement and thwart each other in settings that vary from the simple to the exotic. The Riviera and the Peruvian Andes, a Norfolk village and cosy suburbia are all evoked with the wit and imagination that makes Lisa 'still the most inventive and exciting novelist of her generation in Britain' (Sunday Independent).