This is the third of Frank Delaney's 'Newman' novels. After 'The Amethysts' and 'Pearl', Nicholas Newman, the architect narrator, once again faces violent moral difficulty.
Newman has married Claire, younger than him, frail and beautiful but with a dangerous history. Passionately, watchfully in love with her, he struggles to tell her of his feelings. Claire feels destabilised by her jealousy of the women he has known - notably Ruby Hamer, the Belgravia nightclub owner, a lover from Newman's former, wilder life.
Ruby now exhibits a claim to Newman that he regrets and she draws him into something deeper and worse than he has yet known. Meanwhile, a boardroom row provides an unsolved murder, and Newman finds his client, the enigmatic and vicious Richard Strafe, involve in evil that comes straight from today's headlines.
Like all Delaney's novels, this book rests on several layers: a thriller with profound themes; a contemporary novel with (sometimes playful) homage to the mood of the nineteen-thirties spy-and-cabaret writers; a love story full of desperate, touching passion - and a compelling read that becomes impossible to put down, with twists to the last paragraph.
Absorbing, passionate and riven with tension, the novel punches with blinding force as Newman is forced by shock after shock into vortex of choices that determine his bravery - or his cowardice.