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The Old Wine Shades

 

(New York: Viking Penguin, 2006)

“The dog came back.”

“This is a joke, right?”

“No, it isn’t. . . . So do you want to hear the rest of it?” Dumbly, Jury nodded.

The rest of it is told by Harry Johnson, a stranger who sits down next to Richard Jury as he’s drinking in a London pub called the Old Wine Shades. Over three successive nights Harry spins this complicated story about a good friend of his whose wife and son (and dog) disappeared one day as they were viewing property in Surrey. They’ve been missing for nine months-no trace, no clue, no lead as to what happened.

He’s a fascinating bloke, this Harry Johnson-rich, handsome, unattached, and brainy about the esoteric subject of quantum mechanics, a field in which the vanished woman’s husband, Hugh Gault, excels: He’s an authority on string theory, which has some pretty funny notions about the nature of reality.

Jury wonders, Is Harry Johnson winding him up? Or did it really happen? The dog did come back-but how? And from where? And when Jury investigates, all seems to be just as Harry described it. Until they find the body.

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