A temporary assignment with a fashion photographer sets Kate O’Donnell on the cutting edge of murder.
Ken Fellows, proprietor of Ken Fellows Photography, finally trusts Kate’s skills enough to send her for a month to Andrei Lubin’s studio, ostensibly to learn to take the edgy fashion shots that are all the rage in London. But Kate soon questions the value of this tutelage. Lubin seems more at home photographing debutantes in twin sets than the miniskirted models dominating the current fashion press. And Lubin’s partner, Ricky Smart, is way too interested in Kate’s physical assets. Kate thinks she’d be better off working with Andrei’s cousin Tatiana, an aspiring designer who worships at the font of Courreges and Mary Quant. Ken wants Kate to hang in at Lubin’s, which she does, even after model Sylvia Hubbard confides that she’s pregnant by either Andrei or Ricky—who keeps track of partners in the Swinging ’60s?—and that Lubin will fire her if he finds out. Sylvia’s sad tale leads Kate to a string of young girls, all recruited out of high schools in the East End, who work as models for a few months, then are quickly discarded. Predictably, they find work “on the game.” DS Harry Barnard, Kate’s sometime boyfriend, is interested in these girls, too, especially after the body of one of the young prostitutes, Jenny Maitland, turns up in an alley outside The Jazz Cellar. Harry and Kate work, not quite together but not at cross-purposes, to find out who’s running these girls and, more importantly, who’s killing them.
Telling Harry’s and Kate’s stories in parallel costs Hall’s third some of the punch that her two earlier entries (Death Trap, 2012, etc.) packed.