An Accidental man is a delicious read if you enjoy the tongue in cheek writing of Nancy Mitfod and Evelyn Waugh. It is essentially a story of an incestuous upper middle class English family and thier many friends and one imposter, Ludwig, the scholarly American who by way of an accidental birth in Great Britain, is avoiding the draft to the Vietnam war by his parents adopted contry. The dry sharpness of Ms Murdochs portrayal of the characters is as cool as a gin and tonic but Ludwig, who engages himself to Gracie, the much indulged daugter, soon finds his real ideals in question and the apparent tight family bonds are really gossamer thin and superficial. Other characters, Matthew, Mavis, Austin and Dorina play a large part in the story, indeed, Austin, the accidental Man of the title carries with him a series of accidents involving the entrapement and death of two wives, the death of an innocent child and the maiming of a bumbling blackmailer. Matthew sets himself up as the saviour of the accidental brother but there is no salvation for Austin nor any of the gang as thier comfotable world of simple social expectations leads them into a second generation, while Ludwig escapes their prison only to land in a real one back home in America. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys humour with a black edge. It is fairly long and the multitude of characters sometimes makes it a bit confusing but it well worth settling in to and as it is the first of Ms Murdochs books I have read, I will look forward to the next...and the next!