A flinty introduction to barrister Frances Richmond, who takes time out from looking for love in all the wrong places to represent Susan (Saskia) Baker, a former client and ’70s protester, at her drunk-and-disorderly hearing, only to have Saskia skip out—but not before a strange man in court shows inordinate interest in her. He’s soon tailing Frankie, wrecking her car, and winding up dead in Waterlow Park, with Frankie’s license plate beneath his corpse. While trying to circumvent her own indictment and relocate Saskia, Frankie meets Margo, a bisexual cabaret singer, begins an affair, then discovers that Margo has ties to both the dead man and Saskia. Had Margo and Saskia been lovers? Had Margo and the dead man been lovers? Does Margo even like Frankie, or is she only using her for unknown reasons? When Margo’s trailer, where Saskia’s been hiding out since her reappearance, gets torched, Frankie wonders how the fire is connected to the break-in at the office of Saskia’s solicitor and to the attempted stabbing of Margo. Puzzling over these events with her best friend Lena, Frankie runs smack into another problematic relationship, this one between Margo and DCI Fletcher. The surprising, sizzling denouement will find Frankie, despite everything that’s happened to her, back at that cabaret still obsessed with Margo.
A few too many pop-song references, but strong plotting, characters with depth and cunning, and a lesbian heroine who’ll make readers all over the map rethink their sexual preferences mark this debut as a keeper.