This bleakly comic investigation of old age, exile and displacement shows Elizabeth Jolley at her finest. It is written with wry humour, melancholy and great warmth.
Mr Scobie's arrival at the nursing home of St Christopher and St Jude - and descent into the clutches of Matron Hyacinth Price - is accidental. Adrift in his own memories but preserving a gentle politesse, Mr Scobie stands apart from the others.
For long-term resident and eccentric, Miss Hailey, he represents a kindred spirit; for Matron Price - a lady of questionable practices - the latest victim.