Review: A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan

A Pleasure and a Calling: A Novel - Phil Hogan

Publication Date: 12th February 2015


Publisher: Black Swan


ISBN: 978-0552779395


Source: NetGalley


Rasting: 4*



You won’t remember Mr Heming. He showed you round your comfortable home, suggested a sustainable financial package, negotiated a price with the owner and called you with the good news. The less good news is that, all these years later, he still has the key.


That’s absurd, you laugh. Of all the many hundreds of houses he has sold, why would he still have the key to mine?


The answer to that is, he has the keys to them all.


William Heming’s every pleasure is in his leafy community. He loves and knows every inch of it, feels nurtured by it, and would defend it - perhaps not with his life but if it came to it, with yours...



Narrated by Mr Heming himself, A Pleasure and A Calling is the story of estate agent William Heming and his rather unusual obsession with other people's lives and property. Although what he is doing is shocking, he tells it in a way which makes it seem harmless, if rather creepy. I found Heming utterly fascinating. He appears so normal that you'd barely notice him if you passed him in the street


I was completely enthralled by this book. At first, I was shocked at the audacity of Heming's behaviour, but, as the book moved from his childhood into adulthood and his role as an estate agent, I somehow accepted his behaviour and became more interested in his need to know everything about each homeowner. I can't begin to imagine how it would have made me feel to be one of his victims - to find things moved about, food missing and to think I'd lost something altogether - never imagining that it had been taken as a souvenir!


Hogan has created an intelligent page-turner that builds suspense from the outset, drawing you in from the very first page. It is gripping and dark, a psychological thriller that throws up surprises and twists just when you think you know what's going on. Fantastic!