You may find, somewhere on the very first page of Joanna Trollope’s new novel, that you start to emit a curious sniffing noise. In some cases, this may develop, as early as the middle of page three, into a deep and convulsive sob. And quickly thereafter, you could find yourself clutching your loved ones and demanding they make an appointment with BUPA at the earliest possible opportunity. Having dealt, in her previous books, with every misery that can befall the unhappy family – adultery, poverty, beastly step-children and the works – Trollope here begins with the one that can never be avoided, even by the very happiest.
‘They just knew, all four of them, before he said a word. They knew he was going to say, “I’m so very sorry but –,” and then he did say it.’ Richie Rossiter – popular musician, devoted family man, cheerful, cocky Northern-boy-made-good – is dead from the beginning