FLOWERING JUDAS by Elizabeth Palmer

FLOWERING JUDAS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

More dispatches from life in London's tonier sets as British writer Palmer (Old Money, 1996, etc.) wittily details treachery between the sheets, in the boardroom, and at the country house, all nicely avenged by a woman of decidedly independent means. The milieu is that resilient English society where titles count, money is discreetly plentiful, and eccentrics are admired for--well, their eccentricity. Charmian Sinclair has arranged her life most agreeably: She has her own PR firm, a different lover for every night except weekends--which belong to Giles in the country. And she dearly loves her half-sister Alexandra. But betrayal is in the air: Brother-in-law Oliver is summarily fired by Spivey, the sleazy CEO of Circumference, a large corporation; and Giles disappears, beguiled by a widow who's moved into the neighborhood. Charmian, who shared the same father, the snob and inveterate rake Austin Sinclair, with Alexandra, decides to help Oliver and Alexandra, who, despite Oliver's generous severance package, worries that he'll never work again. As Charmian inveigles potentially damaging information about Spivey, she meets cool, handsome, recently widowered Toby Gill, CEO of Stellar. The two are attracted, but nothing happens until Charmian begins discarding her lovers, sometimes by choice, sometimes by chance: One drops dead, another bores her. Charmian and Toby will meet again and fall in love, but marriage isn't on until some corporate raiding has been done. Charmian digs up enough dirt to deny Spivey a coveted knighthood, but Circumference is in even bigger trouble--as Toby learns when he makes a takeover bid, promises Oliver a big job, and then finds Circumference's stock is worthless. But happiness is at hand as treachery is punished and trust rewarded. Like a Restoration playwright, Palmer deftly evokes a world where vengeance is sweet, true love unexpected, and the race to the swift. A marvelous modern romp.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1997
Page count: 280pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's