Sheep's Clothing

Celia Dale


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Daunt Books
28 September 2023
ISBN: 9781914198601
192 pages

From the publisher

It was a livelihood which comprised skill, nerve, an understanding and manipulation of human nature, and risk. The risk made Grace Bradby’s cold blood run warmer and faster.

Grace Bradby and Janice meet in Holloway Prison. Once both women are released, Janice very quickly becomes accomplice to a scheme conniving Grace devised during her last weeks in prison: posing as representatives of the Social Services Agency, the two women begin visiting elderly people, falsely promising increased pensions because of bureaucratic mistakes.

The scheme proves watertight, and the women frequent betting shops, libraries, Bingo halls, supermarkets, jumble sales, the Post Office (on pension days) and park benches (in fine weather), as they mark out their next target.

But it’s not long before one victim, Miss Frimwell, is found dead of an overdose, launching a detective investigation. What ensues is a sinister tale of greed and misplaced trust, further complicated by a romantic entanglement gone awry. Dale masterfully dissects the little cruelties of life as her characters roam the streets of London, forcing us to consider the question: what harm can it do to have a chat and a cup of tea?