Scribner, April 2002, 2.00, 288ppp.
Former renowned actress Caroline Fawley enjoys her life as a kept woman living in Marsham Village with two of her three children. Caroline enjoys the weekend visits of her married lover Marius Fleetwood, who pays her bills including residing at the luxurious Alderley Mansion.
Accompanied by Marius, Caroline attends her oldest daughter Olivia's opera performance. Marius sneaks away as he usually does when he comes to an opera, but plans to return just prior to curtain call. Olivia is a success, but Marius fails to return. The next day, the police ask Caroline to look at the murdered corpse of an elegantly dressed man, who she identifies as Marius. As she worries about the future, the truths she believed about her lover begins to prove false, making her wonder about her beloved and why anyone wanted him dead.
Though the story line takes its time to introduce the players, readers will relish the wait for once the plot shifts into gear, it never slows down until the end. The characters are fully developed even those who are off stage like Marius' wife so that the audience has a feel for what motivates the cast though much of what is learned about the victim proves untrue. Robert Barnard provides the audience with an entertaining mystery that emphasizes the main and support cast.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner