Books: Mistress of Her Domain

Few Americans know Britain's Beryl Bainbridge. Her Master Georgie shows why more should

"I was 12 years old the first time Master Georgie ordered me to stand stock still and not blink...Mr. Hardy didn't have to be told to keep still because he was dead." And with no further ado, British author Beryl Bainbridge presents the first morbid snapshot in her 16th novel, Master Georgie (Carroll & Graf; 190 pages; $21), a deadpan tale of secrets and lies set in Liverpool and the Crimea in the 1840s and '50s. The story is told in alternating chapters by three characters: Myrtle, an orphan, in love with George, a doctor and amateur photographer; Pompey Jones, George's...

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