London turf wars done to a turn.
The high drug traffic engendered by two of the city’s more unseemly addresses, Temperate Park Acres and Whitsun Housing Estate, catches the practiced eye of investigative journalist Gervaise Manciple Tasker, whose interest leads to his murder. Detective Chief Superintendent Esther Davidson of the Met must juggle the delicate case with other responsibilities, especially the need to placate her egotistical husband, England’s third best bassoonist, who’s been invited on The Week in Review. The program’s presenter, Rupert Bale, lives in Temperate. His sweetie, Dione, is the daughter of Adrian Pellotte, Whitsun’s reigning mobster, who is not best pleased by their romance, especially when Dione’s happiness is threatened by Bale’s interest in the sexual come-ons of fellow TV personality Gabrielle Cornish. Pellotte and his bagman Dean Feston, fervent admirers of Anthony Powell, must deal with one of their drug salesman’s profit-skimming while they’re on the way to deliver a lecture in the writer’s honor and upon reacquiring the money find undetectable ways to safeguard it. Deaths will of course ensue, along with much insufferable behavior from the bassoon player and many blind alleys for Davidson to traverse. But the show—that is, The Week in Review—must go on.
No slyer, wickeder plotter exists than James (Off-Street Parking, 2009, etc.), who manages to be at once droll and nasty.