Very likable but not perfect heroine. Great first book - hope to read a lot more.
Goastwriter Lee Bartholomew is a particular kind of women. She prefere to remain annonymous. When a neighbor in her posh Notting Hill dies in a mysterious fire things heat up.
Lee lives alone in an upper middle class area of Notting Hill, London. Her parents have retired, moved to France to the countryside and left her to live in their large house alone. She has a boy friend of eight years who lives across London. She loves Tommy (boy friend), but likes her space and privacy so she will not give in to his frequent requests to move in with her.
A fire a few blocks from Lee takes the life of a woman who is a local celebrity and becomes the talk of the neighborhood. The fire is unsettling to Lee, a ghost writer, because it is so close to her, and is considered arson and murder. The police haven't found the arsonist. Her little safe world is threatened. She is given to bouts of anxiety and fear anyway, now her imaginatin begins to work overtime.
She suddenly gets a new assignment to ghost for a soap opera star who also lives in her neighborhood. Things get strange very quickly. She has a passionate one-nighter with a handsome, intriguing and sexy man, who, to her dismay, turns out to be the husband of her "subject". Things get increasingly in disarray in her life as she learns her parents are divorcing, she begins to understand the dangerous nature of the man she has fallen for, and another fire is set, this one in her very own summerhouse that she has let to a single, attractive young woman. The drama deepens as it involves others in her life and her relationship with Tommy is threatened and tested in many ways.
This is a first class book in my estimation. The character is somewhat understated and the undercurrent is powerfully passionate. The mystery aspect kind of sneaks in as a factor, but is not the driving force of the book. This would be a great book without the mystery. That said, the mystery itself is extremely well conceived. Subtle clues are stated that lead the reader to obvious ideas and then to other not-so-obvious ones, but the end is suspenseful and surprising. It is refreshing to read a mystery from the point of view of one involved, but not a detective.
I see one reviewer says, "...this is the thinking woman's chic lit." That is apt. I am not a woman, but I seem to like books written by woman as they seem more likely to come out multidimensionally, fully expressing the environment, feelings and drama. I can identify with the main character, Lee Bartholmew.
There is a lot of British vernacular, which is sometimes distracting. The author must be British, though she lives in New York. I can't imagine anyone using so much language that is not clear to Americans, unless they are native Brit. Some words, like "mews", "anorac", "stop full", are not self evident without consulting some lexicon.