Uncle Paul by Celia Fremlin

Uncle Paul by Celia Fremlin was first published in 1959 but has just been reprinted by Faber. It’s subtitled Welcome to the Nightmare Summer Holiday.

Meg is the youngest by far of three sisters, but it seems that she is the one who has to come to the rescue of her sisters who are feckless and disorganised (Isabel) and highly strung (Mildred).

Isabel has rented a caravan in an English coastal resort, but she sends Meg a telegram which says that Mildred needs help, please come.

Meg’s newish boyfriend isn’t keen for her to go as he feels that she’s always having to sort out her sisters’ problems, which she is. But Meg can’t ignore the call for help and when she gets to the holiday resort – Southcliffe – she is amazed to discover that Mildred has rented the very cottage which she had spent her honeymoon in years earlier, when Meg was just a little girl of six.  In fact ‘Uncle Paul’ as Meg had called her brother-in-law had been arrested for the murder of his previous wife while they were at that cottage.

This was a really enjoyable read which had for me a couple of surprising twists at the end.


5 thoughts on “Uncle Paul by Celia Fremlin

  1. I’ve heard this author’s name a lot recently but the only one in my library system was The Long Shadow which I started, then decided I didn’t like it. This sounds good (despite the crazy cover) but made me wonder about the three-sister dynamics in my family! We are spending the weekend together in NY so it’s relevant.

    • Constance,
      I’m the youngest of three daughters too, (there are also two brothers) and I was only six when the eldest one got married, just like in the book!

      • I am the oldest of three daughters with one brother in the middle. He did not join us for the weekend but very helpfully brought me to and from the train station.

        • Constance,
          My parents had boy, girl, girl, boy, girl. I was a bit of an aftershock rather than an afterthought!

  2. I loved this book and was surprised by the ending as well! I read The Long Shadow a few weeks ago and enjoyed it, although it wasn’t as much fun as this one.

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