Middle-aged and middle-class, clean-living Isabel Vernon's world is turned upside down by the arrival of her not-so-clean-living, long-lost goddaughter, Emily Frost. Overweight and shaven-haired, Emily, who was arrested after a scuffle with police on the site of an anti-road protest camp, swaps her unconventional tree-house for the conventional, highly sanitized commuter belt des res of Isabel and husband Douglas, an emotionally clipped civil servant with a penchant for pergolas and similar, carefully structured, garden features. Living with the Vernons as a condition of bail turns out to be the best thing that has happened to Emily for some time and she soon warms to her clean, comfortable home and temporary job as a nanny/housekeeper. Douglas, however, is less impressed and, before long, even his cynical suspicions are far surpassed by reality.
Margaret Yorke, a past chairman of the Crime Writers' Association, with an impressive string of more than 40 novels to her name, has produced a traditional murder mystery against a topical, contemporary backdrop. Her easy style and descriptive narrative of the ordinary folk of Middle England belie her considerable skill at spinning a complex plot, where both heroines and villains turn out to have far more to them than originally meets the eye. --Carey Green [via]