Cover image for Ladder of angels
Ladder of angels
Thompson, Brian, 1935-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Slow Dancer, [1999]

Physical Description:
272 pages ; 20 cm
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Author Notes

Brian Thompson has written for the stage, radio, television, & is the author of four novels. He divides his time between Oxford, England, & the South of France.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Patrick Ganley is a hard-drinking former London cop who is now a down-on-his-luck private investigator. When he's asked to find the runaway daughter of a well-to-do resident of a leafy, upper-crust London suburb, he's quick to say yes. His client, Anthony Pelling, is rich, haughty, and remote, and Ganley no sooner gets a line on the girl's whereabouts than he's told that the runaway has contacted Pelling and all's well. But the gumshoe has already uncovered hints that the Pelling family is a moral cesspool, and he won't drop the case even after he's warned off by a hard guy who "does favors" for people. By the time he's done, Ganley's looking at three murders, a rape, some weird sexual proclivities, avarice, and general turpitude. Some things just don't travel very well, and the classic hard-boiled American private eye recast as an Englishman is often one of them. But Thompson makes it work because he uses the formula to look closely at a seldom-seen side of contemporary Britain. --Thomas Gaughan

Publisher's Weekly Review

As PI Patrick Ganley muses in the early stages of his search for a young woman, "in some ways, a missing person is simply a person sought by somebody else. The searchers are the story." That's true enough in Thompson's impressive new novel, a complex foray into the primitive desires that drive the English Pelling family: Peter; estranged wife Diane; their daughter, Melissa; and Pilar, Peter's housekeeper and lover. Melissa Pelling, recent inheritor of half a million pounds, is haphazardly sought by her father, who hires Ganley ("I can spend enough of your money to salve your conscience, or I can find her. It's up to you," Ganley tells him). Her absent mother, Diane, a sexual free spirit, would rather not face the situation at all. The Pelling family history shades beyond the dark to the ultraviolet, incorporating sex for hire (real and virtual), rape and sodomy, unfettered social climbing and an overarching inability of people to connect with one another except through deceit. Ganley enters this poisonous atmosphere, giving the novel its necessary moral center, fending off physical threats and emotional assaults. Thompson (Bad to the Bone) offers up a harrowing read that is blunt ("The evidence of her bedroom suggested a big girl with large chunks of her brain missing"), scathing ("I could imagine Pilar as the Philippine Lady Macbeth") and written with a sweetness of language that cuts intriguingly against the moral decay at the story's center. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved