Profile : Mary Cavanagh
Cavanagh spent her childhood in the leafy climes of beautiful North
Oxford. Amusing memories abound of eccentric academic neighbours
and gentile snobs, most of whom were struggling to make ends meet
on 1950’s austerity. Being a pupil at St Barnabas Junior school
in Jericho was a privilege and a delight; an experience she feels
honoured to have shared with such friendly and unpretentious classmates.
Milham Ford Girls Grammar was another story. Being lazy and academically
challenged she was grateful to show a clean pair of heels. A hedonistic
working life of sorts followed as a hairdresser, office clerk, graphic
artist, barmaid, au pair, lab assistant and various other forgotten
nightmares, none of which she took at all seriously. She married
Bill, and had two sons, Alastair and Rory.
was only as a mature lady of 35 that she pulled her act together
and became a student at Westminster Teacher Training College. Whilst
always being a voracious reader it was her English course that evoked
the joy of creative writing. Wisely, or not, she chose not to teach
and spent the next twenty years being completely fulfilled in medical
management and administration.
Crowded Bed is her first published novel, born out of her two fascinations.
The strange and secret life that is lived within the mind, and the
myriad of changes in social and moral behaviour over the last fifty
years. She would describe her style as Daphne du Maurier meets Tom
Sharpe, but her favourite authors are George Orwell and Arnold Bennett.
she’s the proud grandmother of Ella Sophie she refuses to
give into the march of time (poor sad old bat) and still wants to
experience life as if she’s twenty-five.
evening, dear friend. I’m extremely pleased to see you,
but I’m sure you’ll understand why I can’t
give you my full attention. Joe Fortune is just about to kill
his father-in-law, and I’ve no intention of missing this
Fortune, a Jewish GP, has been married to Anna, his Aryan
beauty, for twenty years, in a relationship that is sustained
with great passion and happiness. But in the shadows of their
lives, dark secrets are hidden. Joe has long nurtured a desire
to murder Gordon, Anna’s father; a motive born of past
events and involving revenge, mutual hatred, and Gordon’s
deep prejudice for Joe’s Judaism.
you wrong us, shall we not seek revenge?’
Anna too is hiding deep, painful secrets. In a highly charged
exposé the reader is led back and forth over the changing
face of the last half century to discover love, lies, passion,
religion, cruelty and violence. While the powerful Joe is
revealed as angry and resentful, Anna’s quiet dignity
discloses her own extraordinary and shocking revelations.
pain became a habit, a way of life, like a little ghost that
sat on my shoulder’.
Cavanagh handles themes of murder, rape, anti-Semitism, adultery,
alcoholism and physical abuse with unexpectedly deft wit to
create a complex and satisfying drama. … entertaining,
cleverly constructed and an impressive achievement. A dark and
Park Readers group
Soon Publishing Consultant