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Marianne Shearer is at the height of her career, a dauntingly successful barrister, respected by her peers and revered by her clients. So why has she killed herself? Her latest case had again resulted in an acquittal, though the outcome was principally due to the death of the prime witness after Marianne’s forceful cross-examination. Had this wholly professional and unemotional lawyer been struck by guilt or uncertainty, or is there some secret to be discovered in her blandly comfortable private life? Her death reveals a paucity of friends, a grasping brother and a tenacious colleague, Peter Friel, who is determined to find out if that last trial held the reason for her taking her own life. The transcript holds intriguing clues, but it is another witness at the trial who holds the key to the truth and she is far from sure that she can reveal her secrets without releasing even more deceit and destruction.
Pip Carlton is a high-street pharmacist—a good son and a devoted husband, cherished by his loyal customers. He is distraught when, very suddenly, his wife Margaret dies. But not everyone believes that she simply slipped away.
Sarah Fortune inherited her flat from one of her many lovers. Now a son has appeared claiming it is his, morally if not strictly legally, and he is using illegal means to persuade Sarah to give it up: abusive letters threatening her personal harm. As it becomes more difficult to ignore these missives, Sarah comes across Henry, a timid, lonely man whose upstairs neighbour is using every trick in the racketeer landlord’s book to make him leave his home: litter in the shared hallway, continual noise, poison set out for his cat. It seems that if they swap accommodation for a while they may be able to deal with each other’s problems. But these two strangers have unknown connections in common: a well-meaning widow, a struggling therapist, and a man who sets fire to other people’s property for a living…