Blackly humorous yet poignant and multi-levelled, finely crafted and thoroughly entertaining, this short-story collection is from a unique writer with a rare and distinctive talent.'Reading Shonagh Koea's stories . . . is like sampling a box of good, rich chocolates. Read (or eat) too many at once and there's a risk of sensual overload; restrict yourself to one or two, and you miss the pleasure of indulgence, and the subtle distinction of each offering.'So a reviewer in New Zealand Books summed up what another called Shonagh Koea's 'always stylish and scrupulously crafted' writing. Her short stories have been widely admired for their dexterity with language, startingly original imagery, a fine sense of irony that slices through any pretence and a wicked, black humour. Shonagh Koea's first short stories were published in such magazines as the Listener and Metro, and in 1981 she won the Air New Zealand Short Story Competition. Two collections followed: The Woman Who Never Went Home and Other Stories and Fifteen Rubies by Candlelight. While she is best known as a novelist, her short stories have a wide following, as the Nelson Evening Mail commented: 'Shonagh Koea is as addictive as nicotine or coffee - with, perhaps, major withdrawal symptoms.'