Another serving of titled angst from the author of The Big Girls (1982)--this one based on a real-life case--chronicles the events leading up to Lord Charles Warrington's 1974 murder of his son's nanny (he'd meant to kill his wife), presented in the opening chapter. Charles Keating--handsome Earl of Warrington, sometime wealthy professional gambler and uncompanionable intimate of the notorious Wyndham Club--turns his attention to beautiful, vulnerable, grasping Amanda Gordon long enough for a whirlwind romance and marriage; but despite his amply documented sexual besottedness and the birth of their son Patrick, things take less than a year to go wrong; Charles begins to lose at chemin-de-fer and backgammon and neglects his wife for the tables, run by social-climbing owner Gavin Driscoll; Amanda acts the shrew, sinks into manic-depression, and starts a doomed romance with enormous, kindly, pasha-like John Latimer; there are spirited quarrels over engraved stationery and priceless paintings, and less and less talk of Aristotle Onassis and Sean Connery. Up until the evening of the murder, what's happened seems like everybody's fault, but when Charles' friends (including Amanda's sister Davina, who has her own horrid reasons) freeze Amanda out by refusing to help the police track Charles down--they're still at it seven years later, petitioning for him to be found dead to leave the door open for his return--Holmes dusts off a minor character from the old days to give Amanda the happiness her author presumably feels she deserves. The slow disintegration of the marriage is pedestrian but absorbing, although its sequel sadly flounders. A slick, inoffensive riches-to-rags saga, with an ending from Hallmark Greetings.