the observer Sat 20 June 2009
When historians Nick and Sarah Mallinson take a six-month sabbatical in Languedoc with their three young daughters, they discover their rented farmhouse was once the scene of a questionable death. As spectators to a community still shellshocked from this tragedy, the Mallinsons find themselves a confidant in handyman Jean Luc. However, as he becomes increasingly voyeuristic and mentally unstable, it begins to seem inevitable that history will repeat itself. Although the book occasionally suffers from overplaying bizarre occurrences, it remains gripping. Above all, The Standing Pool is captivating thanks to its comic glimpses into family life and the touching honesty of children.