An enthralling true-life Cinderella story--that drips blood all over the glass slipper. Lindsey (A Gathering of Saints, 1988, etc.) again shows his mastery of true crime, revealing the horror of his fractured fairy tale bit by tantalizing bit. Cinderella is California-girl Monika Zumsteg, sunny and vivacious despite growing up with an alcoholic dad. Prince Charming is Michael Telling, a mysterious British tourist who sweeps Monika off her feet and into a near-instant betrothal. Traveling with Michael to England, Monika learns that her fiancÃ‰ is not, as he's claimed, a British secret agent--but, rather, heir to the billionaire Vesteys (whose family history Lindsey recounts at tedious length); moreover, he's married, with a young son. Despite the lies, Monika decides to proceed with the marriage once Michael divorces. But when at last luxuriously settled into a small English town, Monika finds her dream mutating into nightmare as Michael begins to explode into wild rages--rages, she learns, that stem from his abandonment as a child and that once compelled him to set fire to his boarding school. Despairing, Monika takes to drink, extramarital sex, and hounding Michael to change his ways; so he shoots her dead and cuts off her head--spinning the narrative from sordid melodrama into tight police procedural as Scotland Yard, sifting clues, eventually nabs Michael. The narrative spins again, into riveting courtroom drama, as an indignant Lindsey details how the British justice system--along with the raving British tabloid press--allows the trial to turn into an indictment of Monika's character, and allows Michael to try to slip through the loophole of an insanity plea. Starts slow but gains tremendous force, winding up--despite Lindsey's customary pedestrian prose--as a tale both dark and deep, haunted by familial and societal curses. And it'll make a great movie.