'From the rail I looked down at Sashie's upturned face and the brilliant, early tropical sunlight made me think of the lights upon the stage of a theatre long ago . . .'
With these thoughts Janet Sandison says goodbye to the West Indian island that has been her home for many years, for her husband Twice has died, the great house where old Madame Dulac held court for so long is to be sold, changes are coming to the island, and Janet herself is setting out on a new and adventurous life.
That she is doing so is due in no small measure to her friend Sashie, the ex-RAF pilot who walks on 'tin legs' and whose tender, sensitive friendship has drawn Janet from the dark limbo of desolation into which her husband's death had plunged her. The flamboyant Sashie is a brilliant and subtle character, as readers of Jane Duncan's previous 'Friends' books know; and in this story of Janet's move to a new life he is revealed with all the perception and clear-sightedness that make Jane Duncan so compelling a story-teller.
Born in Scotland in 1910, Jane Duncan spent her childhood in Glasgow, going for holidays to the Black Isle of Inverness. After taking her degree at Glasgow University she moved to England in 1931, and when war broke out she was commissioned in the WAAF and worked in Photographic Intelligence.
After the war she moved to the West Indies with her husband, who appears as 'Twice' Alexander in her novels. Shortly after he husband's death, she returned to Jemimaville near Cromarty, not far from her grandparents' croft which inspired the beloved 'Reachfar'. Jane Duncan died in 1976.