When social attitudes researcher Bill Harcourt puts an advertisement in the newspaper for ‘listeners’ to work on an unconventional project, he anticipates that his team of eavesdroppers will discover previously untapped insights into public opinion.
But as five eager listeners begin eavesdropping in the cafes, dentist waiting rooms, public toilets, tube trains and launderettes of London, discreetly noting the details of unguarded conversations, Bill starts to notice subtle changes in their behaviour and realises he has underestimated the compulsive nature of his group. His anxiety is compounded after he receives a series of anonymous letters warning him of the dangers of his experiment.
As the group becomes increasingly intertwined in their subjects’ lives, eavesdropping descends into obsession and Bill has to find a way to rein in his increasingly unruly team before they are beyond help.
Informed by conversations collected over three years, The Eavesdroppers, by award-winning author Rosie Chard, is a dark, yet wryly humorous tale of present-day Londoners, living in a constant state of noise and crowds and eavesdroppers.
Praise for The Eavesdroppers:
"A creepy ambush of a novel, unsettling and profound in its ideas and fears. One feels the weight of history and of the future; one hears a warning.”
~ Michelle Butler Hallett, author of This Marlowe
“At an address somewhere between Bletchley Park and Franz Kafka’s house, Rosie Chard locates a curious and compelling tale about a group of life’s outsiders who find meaning – and much worse – when they’re tasked with listening in. Part spy-thriller in miniature, part fable for our disconcerting times, The Eavesdroppers is funny and haunting and achingly human.”
~ Ian Weir, author of Will Starling and The Death and Life of Strother Purcell