Helen West, a lawyer for London's Crown Prosecution Service (Shadow Play, 1993, etc.), is grateful when a patrician friend sends Cath Boyle, her cleaning woman, to help with the renovation of the basement apartment that Helen sometimes shares with her lover, Police Superintendent Geoffrey Bailey. Cath is married to hard-drinking bartender Joe, a small man who beats her frequently. And Damien Flood, her handsome, charismatic, evil brother, has recently been stabbed to death, apparently in the aftermath of a barroom brawl. A teenager has been charged with the murder--a charge totally unconvincing to Bailey, who worries away at the case with some bewildered help from Detective Constable Ryan. A host of vividly drawn characters move in and out of the Court, the Domestic Violence Unit, Joe Boyle's pub, and the number 59 bus that moves Cath from jobs to home; but it's the character of Damien Flood and the uncovering of his killer that propels this story. Powerful stuff. Fyfield packs her tale with cynical insights and unrelenting tension, and she writes compelling prose that sometimes purples but rarely goes over the top.