When successful author Gerald Candless dies of a sudden heart attack, his eldest, adoring daughter Sarah embarks on a memoir of him and soon discovers that her perfect father was not all he appeared to be. That in fact he wasn't Gerald Candless at all. But then, who was he? And what terrible secret had driven him to live a lie for all those years?
- From the Penguin Web site
- Penguin Audiobook, 26/03/1998. Read by Michael Winner.
- Each chapter is headed by an extract from one of Gerald Candless' fictional novels. The novels referred to in this way are: A Messenger of the Gods, Less is More, Eye In The Eclipse, The Centre of Attraction, The Forsaken Merman, Orisons, A Paper Landscape, The Mezzanine Smile, A White Webfoot, Purple of Cassius, Hamadryad, Hand to Mouth, Time Too Swift, A Man of Thessaly, Half an Hour in the Street and The Bridegroom's Doors.
- Gerald Candless' employment as a newspaper reporter in north-east London in the 1950s is a close parallel to Vine's own history.
March 26, 1998
To Patrick Maher
"Ursula, whose strange marital bargain with Gerald and whose distant relationship with her daughters tug at the heart, stays with the reader long after this distinguished, literary mystery is finished."
- Jane Adams, Amazon.com
The search for the origins of a child echoes the earlier concerns of Asta's Book, but The Chimney Sweeper's Boy is quite different in tone. Hope Candless is one of the most unpleasant characters ever to grace the pages of a Vine novel, although her father comes close. The creation of Candless' fictional universe of works is an additional delight.