'Coming a little nearer to Scannell's own situation, au pairs have a long, well established and respectable tradition as persons into whom it is OK, even de rigeur, to dip the seigneurial wick. But cleaning ladies. Cleaning women. Deeply suspect to have to admit to employing one, but to look lewdly upon, to have a bit on the side with, to, oh God, fall in love with...' A middle-aged professor is thrown into confusion when his cleaning lady offers an unusual service; fellow travellers on a train make some intimate connections; a respectable writer's life is invaded by obscene communications from a rogue fax machine; a man loses his lover unexpectedly, only to find that she has left him a distressingly tactile souvenir. Even the page on which a computer prints out can be infiltrated by alien parasites with a startling lack of warning.