In this entrancing novel, Elspeth Noblin, herself an identical twin, dies of cancer and leaves her apartment to her nieces, identical twins, Julia and Valentina. A stipulation of the inheritance is that the twins must live in Elspeth’s flat for one year prior to selling it. Julia and Valentina decide to accept the terms of the inheritance and move from their home in the states to their new home in London.
The twins meet interestingly obsessive people who are their new neighbors. Robert, who is a scholar at Highgate Cemetery and had been Elspeth’s lover before she died, is obsessed with writing the quite lengthy story of the permanent residents of Highgate. Martin, suffering from OCD, is confined to the walls of his apartment and his rituals by his compulsion. Friendships grow and a love affair follows.
The twins soon realize that they are not living alone in their apartment, but are sharing it with the ghost of Aunt Elspeth. The story takes on a sinister turn as the characters seek to control life and death, but find they can’t control the consequences.
I highly recommend this as a great character study and thought-provoking novel.
Reviewed by Kathy Dittrich