Nothing special here in English novelist Parker's hard-cover debut--just the usual glamorous and shallow people at play in a field of greed, lust, and clunky intrigue. You'd think painter Madeleine Delaney had it all. She lives in a grand New York penthouse with her handsome banker husband Carl; she's young and gorgeous, has a brilliantly successful career, and is descended from British royalty--her grandfather is the fearsome Sir George Dalrymple, of Milton Manor. But she's always been burdened by the supposed early death of her mother, Camilia, when Madeleine was just a tot during the 60's. Now, she races to England on the suspicion that Camilia may in fact still be alive. Meanwhile, Carl is having an affair with his red-headed fellow bank employee Kimberly Cabot (they go at it ""with the desperation of animals tearing each other to pieces in a prehistoric act of lust""), and the poor fool is also involved in an embezzling scheme with the same voracious Kimberly. On another front, Madeleine's best friend Jessica, a hotel executive, gives up her career--as well as boring lover Andrew--for a dangerously sexy classical musician, Bernard Scheller. How will it all end? When will it all end? When Madeleine discovers that Camilia is indeed still alive, but insane (she'd been planning on sacrificing three-year-old Madeleine during satanic rituals in the 60's); when Madeleine extricates Carl from the clutches of Kimberly and the bank examiners; and when Jessica returns to Andrew--it was only Bernard's music that infatuated her, she sees at last, not the man himself. The only real interest here is trying to decide which is worse: Parker's tortuous plotting or her plodding prose.