Stephen is a spy who listens to other people's conversations and he imagines their lives beyond the conversation. When this fantasy gets a hold of him in the case of Helen and her husband whom they already suspect (we never know why or how they are involved) he takes it a step further, fabricating conversations, following up on the people (strictly forbidden) and falling in love with a woman he has only listened to.
A sad depiction of a nice person who wants to have a life and love of his own. He is in the wrong profession and though the others working with him are "normal", fun loving familied people Stephen is somewhat different.
Stephen's mind is under pressure and that is when the imagination runs riot. Clinically told and at the same time leading to a suspenseful end (which you know is not going to be happy ever after), the book held my interest until the end.
Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Faber & Faber Ltd.