Sheep's clothing by Celia Dale is definitely not a run of the mill Virago Modern Classic. No aristocratic families, no tales of a poor working class childhood, no women finding themselves. Rather this is a distinctly shocking story of two women who are employed in defrauding elderly pensioners. It's a subtle book, but ultimately a bit of a suburban terror story, showing that crime and evil deeds can lurk behind ordinary exteriors.
The two main characters pretend to be women from social services, bearing the good news that the person that they are visiting is entitled to a bonus payment. Tea is made in celebration. The pensioner suddenly finds that she has fallen asleep and the pair of women have left. Later on, it transpires that many of her personal possessions have been stolen. But she is too embarassed to report it. The pair get away with this again and again. The story resolves itself, but not how one might expect, and as I am keen to recommend this book I won't say anything more at this stage.
I was quite intrigued by this book and found that although there are no other VMCs by Dale, Faber Finds have republished A dark corner and A helping hand. It seems from the synopsis that Dale's speciality is telling stories about ordinary people who do extraordinary and wicked things within the remit of modern society, and I am definitely going to look out more of this slightly unsettling writing. This book was only published once by Virago with the above cover.