Always on the alert for a new subject for one of her historical novels, Kate Ivory is rapt by the recent discovery of diaries and letters by Maria Taylor, sister of Dickens inamorata Ellen Ternan. It would be just the thing if her Oxford lover Liam Ross could introduce her to Taylor's editor, Dr. Olivia Blacket- -if, that is, Liam were not Olivia's long-time lover as well. By the time Kate figures out the reason for Olivia's extraordinary hostility to her, Olivia will be far beyond any more hostilities. The suspects: Kate, Liam, and an amnesiac called Angel, who's been drawn to Leicester for some reason even she doesn't understand. Perhaps the liveliest of Kate's four appearances (Oxford Exit, 1995, etc.), though the cast is skeletal (both collectively and individually) and the windup is a letdown.