> Skip to content

Shortlisted for the New Zealand Book Awards.

An internationally acclaimed novel, the Kirkus Reviews wrote, ‘Shrewdly balanced between earthy tenderness and the dreadful trauma of disillusionment: a grave yet limber narrative - and a very welcome import.’

In a strange old building referred to as Paddy's Puzzle, Clara Bentley endures the fears of wartime and awaits the arrival of her lover, Ambrose. He's an American Marine. And he's black. Having grown up in suburban Hamilton, her move to Auckland marks an escape from the dreariness and restrictions of her childhood. In this building, full of an odd assortment of people, she waits, not just for Ambrose, but for the air-raid siren, for the culmination of her illness and for the sister to whom she dreads having to explain her new life in the Puzzle.

The novel was shortlisted for the New Zealand Book Awards. The San Francisco Chronicle commented: ‘The supple flow of Kidman’s language is a pleasure to read. She’s particularly alive to the sudden swelling of emotion just below the surface of a carefully worded conversation. And she tosses off startlingly true images in the most offhand manner.’

Formats & editions

  • EBook


    December 1, 2012

    Random House New Zealand

    220 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

Also by Fiona Kidman

All Day at the Movies
This Change in the Light
The House Within
Songs from the Violet Cafe
The Best of Fiona Kidman's Short Stories
The Infinite Air
The Book of Secrets
A Needle in the Heart
Ricochet Baby
A Breed of Women
The Trouble With Fire
True Stars
Where Your Left Hand Rests
Beside The Dark Pool
At the End of Darwin Road
The Captive Wife


Fifty Shades Darker
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Two from the Heart
Amber and Alice
Slaughterhouse 5
A Country Road, A Tree
Ambulance Girls Under Fire
Spitfire Girl
Suite Francaise
Flora's War
Hold Back the Stars
The Moment She Left
New Beginnings at Lilyfields
Storms Over Blackpeak
The Hiding Places
Make My Wish Come True
Love Letters