This 2002 Whitbread Prize winner is set in WWII Britain as remembered many years later by Stephen Wheatley, a participant in the events. Stephen Wheatley was a "geeky" child whose only real friend in his small village is Keith Hayward. Keith is very much the dominant figure in the friendship, and Stephen idolizes him and his family. To him, the Haywards are everything his pedestrian family is not. When Keith decides that Mrs. Hayward (his own mother!) is really a German spy, the children start follwing her and recording her movements. Their activities set off a chain of events which destroy the lives of two families in the neigborhood and expose many carefully kept secrets. The novel is intensely atmospheric and suspenseful.
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