A new challenge for the veteran author’s occasional heroine Sarah Fortune (Perfectly Pure and Good, 1994, etc.), a vibrant, red-haired lawyer who works for the firm of Ernest Mattewson in London. One of her clients is Cannon Smith, a gifted artist, now imprisoned for supplying explosives to the underworld and for stealing from his prosperous, vicious twin brother John, a buyer and builder of houses. Cannon’s aching teeth win him temporary release from jail, in Sarah’s custody, to have them completely redone by Sarah’s sometime lover, dentist William Dalrymple. Meanwhile, Sarah has hidden Cannon’s wife Julie, after she’s endured a merciless beating by John’s henchman, in the convent where her own Aunt Pauline, a nun, practices her faith. It’s after Cannon’s release that brother John is at his most vindictive and Sarah at her most heroic, as she sacrifices what may be her life to her feelings of responsibility for the safety of Cannon and his wife. Less mystery than psychological exploration of the aftermath of the brothers’ early incestuous relationship; of impulsive, warmhearted Sarah; and of the pathological effects of needing more dental work than you ever wanted to think about—all written in a lyrical style complemented by unremitting tension and a final ironic twist. A superior job from an old pro.