It was Patrick's idea that they should have the tennis party weekend. After all, he had the perfect setting - the White House. Bought out of his bonuses as an investment salesman, it was complete with stable, cocktail bar, jacuzzi, shell-shaped bedheads and, of course, the tennis court (towered over by an authentic Wimbledon-green umpire's chair). He hadn't actually told Caroline, his brash and beautiful wife, what the real reason for the party was. And if she suspected that he had a hidden agenda, she managed to hide it in a cloud of Pimm's-induced laughter. She was glad to welcome Stephen and Annie, their impoverished former neighbours, less glad to see newly wealthy Charles and his aristocratic wife Cressida, and barely able to tolerate the deadly competitive Don and Valerie. As the four couples gathered on the sunny terrace, it seemed obvious who was winning in life and who was losing. But by the end of the party, nothing would be certain. As the first ball is served over the net it signals the start of two days of tempers, shocks, revelations, the arrival of an uninvited guest, and the realisation that the weekend is about anything but tennis.
A funny, cutting, penetrating and perceptive debut novel from a brilliant new writer to the contemporary scene.
Madeleine Wickham was born in London. She read PPE at Oxford and published her first novel, The Tennis Party, while working as a financial journalist. Since then she has written A Desirable Residence, Swimming Pool Sunday, The Gatecrasher, The Wedding Girl, Cocktails for Three and Sleeping Arrangements, all published by Black Swan. She is also the author of several novels published by Black Swan under the name of Sophie Kinsella. She lives in Surrey with her husband and two small sons.