The White Family

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Maggie Gee, Telegram, £7.99

Alfred White is a London park keeper in Hillesden. He's been working there for 50 years and he's bluff and proud and authoritarian - not only in Albion Park but at home with his family. He has his kinder moments and thinks lovingly of his long-suffering wife May, but this kindness does not extend to "the coloureds" who are seemingly ruining his well-ordered world.

The only trouble is his daughter Shirley lives with Elroy, a black social worker, and his younger son Dirk is a racist thug who storms through life thinking murderous thoughts.

Maggie Gee gets into the minds of the White family. White is their surname and white is their identity against a world which is ruined by "the blacks taking over". Gee voices their fears and their bigotry - the buses that don't come are the fault of the black bus driver; the boarded-up shops where there once used to be butchers and florists are the fault of "the frigging Pakis".

After council cuts, Alfred is the only one left of the six park keepers, but his dark thoughts are not aimed at the council, but foreigners. Even the exotic birds brought into the park's aviary are on the receiving end of his bitterness and ignorance - "I want British birds like budgerigars..."

Very readable. Violence is in the air, family and racial tensions are well described, but the multiple tying-ups at the end are a tad over the top.