Robin Douglas-Home, a leading socialite (or celebrity) of his time was the nephew of a former British Prime Minister. Amongst the women he was 'seen with' were Princess Margaretha of Sweden and Princess Margaret, the Queen's sister. In between he married the fashion model Sandra Paul. Robin Douglas-Home was an accomplished jazz pianist and writer. He had written a biography of Frank Sinatra before he ventured into the fictional world of 'Hot For Certainties'. This first novel centres around public schoolboy, David Melrose. For the most part our hero is an observer to the world around him. With grandparents trapped in their own world and unaccepting that things have changed since the second world war. Public school life trapped in another kind of time warp that will eventually clash with the real world. The divorce of David's parents leaves him strangely cold as though the result was something that was inevitable. While his mother remains an interfering 'I know what's best for you' person David's father marries a younger free spirit who finds it natural to bare herself in his presence. Eventually, David finds his own way as he embarks on his coming of age journey with a relationship with his grandparents maid, Jean, with whom he shares a passionate night. Looking forward to the next holiday and enlarging his relationship with Jean, David's well meaning mother sends him off on a holiday with his best friend aboard the family yacht. Here he meets the frigid (soon to be man-eating) Polly. Because of this Jean gets engaged to another boy and dumps our hero. Then David meets Laura the sister of the school 'pin-up' and from there things come to a head through a series of misinterpretations. Observer now becomes challenger and David questions the world around him.
This novel holds the interest because there is the insight of the main character who can add a often humourous slant even in the gravest moments.
'Hot For Certainties' was first published in 1964 by Longman's and by Pan Books in 1966.
Robin Douglas-Home died at the age of 36 in 1968. He had suffered from clinical depression for years.