Another darkly romantic thriller from Norman (Fascination, 1992; Shattered Stars, 1991, etc.)--a high-glamour journey through the theater worlds of London and New York. On the eve of what's to be her greatest performance--the lead in Hedda Gabler--London stage legend Diana Lancaster dies. Her seven-year-old son, Sebastian, is whisked away from his two playmates, best friend Jeremy and Katharine, a visiting American girl, to begin mourning. But it appears that his grief is not of the unhealthy type, for the boy grows up to be a paragon of virtue, beauty, and intelligence. He is even able bravely to set aside whatever ill memories he has of the stage to start a wildly successful theatrical agency with Jeremy, now a sinisterly bisexual bad seed. Yet Sebastian is not entirely the golden boy. There are certain disquieting mysteries from his past, one of them having to do with a lipstick, poisoned with hydrochloric acid, said to have been used by the lead in a production of Hedda Gabler. And although he practically has to beat women away, Sebastian just can't seem to fall in love. Reenter Katharine, now a brilliant, amber-eyed set designer. The two marry, return to England, have sex often, and drink lots of good champagne. Things change, however, once the couple move into Sebastian's childhood home--and his parents' former bedroom. He begins to have strange headaches; his lovemaking takes on an alarming twist. Soon, Sebastian insists that Katharine switch careers--from set design to acting. This insistence turns to obsession and something far worse when a new production of Hedda Gabler comes to London--and Katharine finds herself understudying for the lead role. The lovers often seem more cloying than passionate, and the prose sometimes clunks like a square-wheeled cart--but Norman tells a good story, complete with likable characters and luxurious sets.