Londoner Georgina Powers, a reporter for Technology Week, is horrified to hear of her cousin Julian's death--caused, it seems by a bit of autoerotica he couldn't escape when he forgot to place his handcuff keys nearby. But when Georgina and best friend Warren, a black, brilliant East End hacker, enter Julian's PC, they find a subliminal message programmed in it: Forget the key. Who wanted Julian dead? The path leads to Lifestyle Software, a dummy company spawned by Julian, Georgina's ex-husband Eddie, and Eddie's boss (and latest mistress) Kay Fisher, a nabob at financial brokers Broadwick & Klein. Georgina, barely deterred by arson, burglary, fisticuffs, and phone threats (but shaken by a falling out with Warren), eventually uncovers another subliminal message--this one triggering the stock crash of '87. A twist, another twist, and several betrayals later, Georgina is ready to write up the story for her acerbic boss Max and begin seeing Detective Inspector Falk for dinners. Feisty characters and tidy plotting mark this US debut, only slightly diminished by the long midbook discourse on How Finance Works. A strong, appealing introduction to the unsentimental Georgina.