Maggie Gee has written 14 novels including The White Family, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize (now the Women’s Prize). Blood, her latest, is a bizarrely misfiring black comedy. The setting is Thanet, which was the only Ukip-held council in Britain until March last year, when almost half of its councillors resigned and formed a breakaway group. The choice of Thanet is not accidental, and one’s initial hope was that this might be the first great Brexit novel.
Brexit is mentioned, but the narrative is dominated by 38-year-old ‘buxom bruiser’ Monica Ludd, an unconventional deputy head at a local secondary school, who we are repeatedly told is six foot.