Past Imperfect

by Julian Fellowes

Damian Baxter is rich, very rich – and he’s dying.  Childless and alone in a big house in Surrey.  The only people to look after him are paid to: a  chauffeur, butler, cook and housemaid.  He has only one concern: who is going to inherit his fortune?  

Past Imperfect starts with the summoning of the narrator (who is never named) to his mansion and asking him for a favour; to find out whether he has a living heir. By the time he married in his late thirties a bout of mumps had left him sterile, but could he have fathered a child before his unfortunate illness? A letter from an old girlfriend suggests that he did – but the letter is anonymous. So Damian contacts a friend from his university days, gives him a list of the girls he slept with and sets him a task: to find his heir.  This novel from Julian Fellowes, the author of Snobs and the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Gosford Park, and like Gosford Park it gives the reader a peek into the foibles, petty snobberies and unearned privileges of the upper classes in Britain.

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