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A Pleasure and a Calling

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  3,905 ratings  ·  665 reviews
In the tradition of Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley novels comes a deliciously unsettling tale of psychological suspense that delves into the mind of a man with a chilling double life.

You won't remember Mr. Heming. He was the estate agent who showed you around your comfortable home, suggested a financial package, negotiated a price with the owner, and called you with the
Paperback, 283 pages
Published February 27th 2014 by Doubleday
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  3,905 ratings  ·  665 reviews

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Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: free-from-work
Here I am an invisible boy.

this is a hell of a creepy premise, and a great addition to the tradition of psychological suspense with unreliable narrators. william heming is a character you will remember precisely because he has tailored himself to be as unmemorable as possible - all the better to observe you with, my dear…

heming has always been a bit of a voyeur, which is my attempt at british understatement. as a young boy, he would hide behind chairs and under beds and sofas, spying on his
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: karen
Shelves: paperwhite, i-said
This one puts the EEE in creepy.

Did you ever come home and have that feeling that something wasn’t quite right? Perhaps you thought you had more eggs than that or you could have swore that there were at least three butter tarts left. Are you losing your mind or has someone moved the blanket on the couch? Is that coffee you smell? A cold shiver runs up your spine. You are uneasy in your own home and you just don’t know why.

Meet Mr. Heming, your local real estate agent. Don’t be surprised if you
Cindy Pham
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting premise but I think there could have been a lot more done with this concept. There’s an obsession that William latches onto which quickly dissipates by the end of the story, making me wonder what the point of building up the tension was for. I also thought he made a lot of stupid mistakes that makes it a little hard to believe he was able to get away with this for so long. His background story added to the creepiness but I’m not sure if it showed much depth to his character. I ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: It's easy to say,now, that I wish I'd drawn a line under 4 Boselle Avenue, but there are some things you cannot let go. Certainly there was something about the man with the small incontinent dog that continued to rankle. Perhaps I felt that my honor - the town's honor - had not been quite satisfied. Or maybe I was still in the grip of excitement after the disappointment of the farcically unreliable Cooksons earlier that day. But in the great chain of things - and in view of what ...more
Miriam Smith
"The Intruder" by P S Hogan is a slow burning psychological thriller that certainly grows on you the more you read it. Although the storyline is quite slow to develop you are very keen to see where the story leads to and certainly keeps you entertained along the way.
William Heming is not your typical estate agent - he secretly keeps a copy of a key for each house he sells and many more besides. He likes to visit these houses when they are empty to check out the owners lives and even tries out
Mar 19, 2014 rated it liked it
I really have no complaints about this one: the writing was tight, the story was fresh, and the characters were complex. The reason this one falls short of a higher rating with me is strictly personal: for whatever reason I just had a hard time connecting to the story and the characters. I don't have a problem with an unlikeable main character, that wasn't the problem. I just had a lack of interest that I really can't explain expect for saying that the chemistry between reader and story was ...more
William Heming pridefully worked for seventeen years in the real estate business within his community. He wasn't just your average, highly successful businessman.

 photo IMG_4646_zpswuiblehn.jpg

In addition to being articulate, he was also conniving, vindictive, delusional, underhanded--there were a slew of words that could be used to describe the narrator in this story! Heming's strategic violation of privacy against many of the people he interacted with was too realistic, downright chilling, and unnerving! His ability to
Dannii Elle
This was admittedly a total cover buy and I knew almost nothing about the plot before picking this up. What followed was a twisted, dark and perverse tale, the likes of which I have never read before.

This is the story of Mr. William Heming, who excels at not standing out. His is the bland face that blends in to a crowd. His clothing is worn one hundred different ways by a thousand different middle-class men. He is the pleasant but distant figure that showed you around your new home. He is the
Natalie Richards
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-book
Very unsettling reading; made even more so due to the fact that I have my house on the market and the estate agents have a key! I made need to get that back!
Enjoyed this read very much and particularly the ending as it didn`t finish how I expected it to. Hate predictable endings, so pleasantly surprised.
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rarely do you read a book which is totally original, creepy, delightfully and darkly funny and enjoyable from cover to cover. I am pleased to say that this is such a book. Estate agent William Heming lives in a leafy and prosperous community. He is successful, self employed and adept at reading people. However, Heming has a secret – he has the keys of every house he has sold and he is more familiar with his clients lives, and their properties, than you might expect...

When Heming has an
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The intruder, by P. S. Hogan
He has the key to hundreds of houses.
Maybe even to yours.

A gripping, sinister, deeply unsettling novel from the most sociopathic narrator of 2018. Meet Mr Heming...
William Heming is an estate agent. He’s kept a copy of every key to every house he’s ever sold. Sometimes he visits them. He lets himself in when the owners are out. But what will happen if he gets caught?
What will he do next?
He's certainly creepy is our Mr Hemining, or William, to his
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Who has your house keys?

A Pleasure and a Calling is the chilling psychological thriller written by journalist and author Phil Hogan, and I want to know how twisted is Hogan’s mind? This thriller is certainly has a brilliant twisted thread all the way through it which makes this such an enthralling and rather worrying read. I certainly want to make sure I am the only one with the keys to my house if not then I hope an estate agent has not got a set.

William Heming is our narrator throughout the
A psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator that will have you wanting to change your locks on a daily basis.

Has anything ever seemed out of place when you return home? An indentation in the couch, food missing from the fridge, maybe the lingering aroma of fresh coffee? Ever wonder who might have a key? Ever considered your real estate agent? Oh, you bought your place years ago, they wouldn’t still have a key you say. Yeah, so do most of the residents of a quaint English town.
Harry Clark
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this one. I was enticed in by the clever title and the front cover, and wasn't disappointed to find that both the narrator and his story were equally as creepy and clever as my initial reaction had predicted.

The story is original, and I enjoyed getting to know Heming's backstory, though perhaps it would have been structurally more interesting to weave the backstory into the main plot. I found myself wanting to hurry through the opening chapters to get to the main plot.

Liz Barnsley
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Coming February 2014 from RandomHouse UK Transworld Publishers.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via Netgalley.

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
Review originally published at Learn This Phrase.

William Heming is an estate agent in a pleasant, leafy and very middle-class English town. He is an unassuming man whom nobody notices - he is charming but forgettable, a consummate salesman who specialises in finding his customers their dream homes and then quietly slipping back into the shadows, unremembered. And that's exactly the way he likes it, because he has a secret: he has kept a set of keys for every property he has ever dealt with. A
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I hardly ever use that word in my reviews but here I feel it is warranted. I am starting to think that the creepier and more horrific the book, the higher my praise usually is for it! These sort of books could be described as walking the tightrope between thriller and horror extremely well. I have never enjoyed horror movies and had assumed that it also applied to those type of books too but I don't think that is the case at all - I have started to read and really get into the horror genre ...more
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
**This review may be considered slightly spoilery so if you want to go in blind then don't read on - just know this is a thorough and compelling character study**

Mr Heming is a rather creepy and fascinating character. He is an estate agent. Nothing unusual in that I hear you say. Ahhhh but Mr Heming sells houses and keeps the keys! Then sneaks round people's houses when they're out. He immerses himself in the lives of others finding out all their routines and secrets *shudders*
He will use
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it
An enjoyable read which had a very scary premise. House, keys, access, just whose hands do your housekeys pass through? Think about it! And what if they make a copy of those keys and are able to pass through your house like a gentle breeze, so gentle that you never know they've been there?! Day after day, week after week, month after month. Mr Heming did just that, hundreds, if not thousands of properties, lives, passing through without so much as an ornament out of place!

The book was well
Mandy White
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
What a creepy read that was! An estate agent who lets himself in at any time and checks out people's lives...and helps himself.... He couldn't wait to leave home and then to leave school where he refined his skills in going unnoticed. Landing a job with a real estate company was like a dream come true.

Thank you to Random House UK via NetGalley for a copy of this book to read in exchange for my honest opinions.
Clare Hexom
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
A compelling psychological thriller that I highly recommend. Creepy, shocking, and seemingly very real. Hard to put down.
Joanna Park
4 and a half stars!

Wow what an unusual and creepy book this was. I really enjoyed reading it and it was definitely a book that kept me up at night, both trying to read more and through some weird dreams that I had after reading it.

I think the thing that most struck me about this book is that this could actually happen. How many people change their locks on moving into a new house, how many old owners of a house keep the key to their old houses and how many estate agents get rid of the keys they
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: britain, 2015
The only difference between the sane and the insane is how many people you can get to agree with you.

An unreliable narrator in a tightly developed, fascinating, claustrophobic tale of escalating madness … within a few lines, I knew I’d love this book. In A Pleasure and a Calling, author Phil Hogan creates a smoothly operating, high-functioning sociopath, the seemingly respectable owner of a prominent, successful small town real estate company who organises his lifelong programme of intense,
Rachel Hall
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Previously released under the far more intriguing title of “A Pleasure and a Calling” in 2014 this is the savagely funny story of the estate agent who keeps a copy of the key to every house he sells and is plotted with pinpoint precision. Impressively characterised, the first-person narration segues between William Heming relaying his hobby of browsing, occasionally pilfering and very often just making himself at home inside other peoples abodes (all without their knowledge of course) and ...more
♛ Garima ♛
Dec 14, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I am confused, what is title of this book?
A Pleasure and a Calling or The Intruder ?
3.5 stars
William Heming seems like a righteous man at first but looks can be oh so deceiving and don’t I love it! That hidden side of people is so fascinating to discover and what’s better than a voyeuristic side of one’s personality to explore? His voyeurism doesn’t apply to people though, there’s no funny business, but he likes to look at people’s lives and homes.. the things that really tell a story about them. Now if you’re following the voyeur around, do you become one yourself then too
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, arc
In brief - Hum - tough one to review in some ways. For me the publisher's line "The creepiest, most sinister thriller" really is unhelpful. It certainly didn't have that effect on me! However, without that, I found it readable and I found Heming as a character interesting. 3.5 probably.

In full
I liked the first chapter and introduction. Heming came over as an interesting character in this first person story. He is a local estate agent and has made copies of the keys of all the houses he has sold.
So begins the story of an estate agent who has a copy of every house key he ever sold – as told by Mr. Hening, the estate agent himself. How lucky we are!

I do have to say I fail to comprehend why ANY new owner would not have changed their locks!!???!??!!!

He begins with the caveat that he is not at fault. And begins his story of a unknown dead body in the garden of his latest clients’ home. That’s just great!

I knew the sounds of my neighbor.

As he tells his side of the story matter-of-fact, he
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The main character William Heming is one creepy man. Real estate agent, he has the keys to every home and sneaks in when you're not around, eating or taking souvenirs. Since his choldhood, something is not right with William and getting older, things haven't changed.

Told as a diary, you discover the depth Heming will go to set things right , well the right thing that would benefit him.

Creepy, funny thriller!
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“The only difference between the sane and the insane is how many people you can get to agree with you.” 6 likes
“I have to smile when newspapers--so predictable in their attempt to explain the behaviour of those transgressing social norms or the workings of the deviant mind--speak of the 'double life' led by this furtive criminal or that. In fact the reverse is true. It is normal people who have a 'double life'. On the outside is your everyday life of going out to work and going on holiday. Then there is the life you wish you had--the life that keeps you awake at night with hope, ambition, plans, frustration, resentment, envy, regret. This is a more seething life of wants, driven by thoughts of possibility and potential. It is the life you can never have. Always changing, it is always out of reach. Would you like more money? Here, have more! An attractive sexual partner? No problem. Higher status? More intelligence? Whiter teeth? You are obsessed with what is just out of reach. It is the itch you cannot scratch. Tortured by the principle that the more you can't have something the more you desire it, you are never happy.” 3 likes
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