Propelled by spite (in Carole’s case) and love (in Jude’s), the Fethering ladies embark on separate investigations.
Jude is so besotted with Piers Targett that she hasn’t given a thought to her alternate therapy practice or schmoozed with her neighbor Carole for two weeks now. Carole doesn’t know about the new man in Jude’s life, but to dispel the doldrums and prove she doesn’t care that she hasn’t heard from her friend, she’s looked over old crime stories and decided to tackle the unsolved Lady in the Lake mystery, a cause célèbre seven years ago. Jude meanwhile has taken up Piers’ obsession, real tennis, a sport much admired in Henry VIII’s reign and nearly as incomprehensible as cricket. Unfortunately, her first lesson at tony Lockleigh House coincides with the death of Reggie Playfair, who collapses on court. Reggie’s wife, suspecting that he was meeting a lover there, asks Jude to investigate. Ever intrepid, Jude unearths various late-night courtside trysts, a wannabe ghost wandering around in her wedding dress, a liaison begun years back in Paris and a wife to whom Piers still seems emotionally attached. Carole’s equally dramatic venture leads her to a mother still grieving over her long-lost child, a father who so loathes his ex that he’s erased her from his press releases and CV, and an abusive Russian who smacks his wife around. When Carole and Jude finally reunite and discuss their cases, resolution is produced by the one name common to both.
Top-flight Brett (Guns in the Gallery, 2012, etc.), with droll potshots at flawed husbands, the women who shouldn’t have married them, rabid sports enthusiasts and quasi-tiffs among friends.