Cass Evesham, one of the rare women traders, has a shocking weekend, in every sense. Her lover ends their affair in a particularly brutal fashion, and the press besiege her with the news that the grandmother whom she thought dead, is a celebrated murderess, just released on parole.
Livia Claughton, now in a safe house under an assumed name, finds it difficult to accept help from those who can't imagine the horror of 25 years in prison - long punishment for a very different crime from the one for which she was convicted. Julia, actress daughter of the famous singer killed in her prime, is determined to restart her flagging career, and feed her hatred, by starring in a theatre season featuring plays of revenge - the publicity could hardly be greater.
All three women have to come to terms with their pasts, their families and their futures, and Cass above all must discover if an instinct for violence is a genetic inheritance.