Clutch of Phantoms by Clare Layton

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Three women seek to escape the clutches of the past. Cass Evesham, one of the few women stockbrokers in the city, is reeling from the abrupt ending of an affair when she gets even more shocking news: the grandmother whom she thought dead is a celebrated murderess, just released on parole.

Cass' grandmother, Livia Claughton, moves into a safe house under an assumed name. Livia finds it hard to adjust to her new life, and to accept help from those who can't even begin to imagine the reality of the last twenty-five years in prison. It has been, in fact, long punishment for a very different crime from the one for which she was convicted.

Julia Gainsborough, actress daughter of the famous diva killed in her prime, is determined to restart her flagging career--and settle some of her demons--by starring in a cycle of revenge plays. After all, the publicity could hardly be greater.

In a Cumbrian village, remote from London, their stories intertwine in a pacy, powerful novel that explores questions about the roots of violence and the potential for change.

About Clare Layton

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Clare Layton, who was born in London and educated at a Berkshire convent, worked in publishing for ten years before leaving to write full time. She has written mysteries as Natasha Cooper, and in 2000 served as Chair of the British Crime Writers Association. She lives in London.
Published January 1, 2000 by HarperCollins Publishers Canada, Limited. 320 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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On Cass’s return to London, the exhaustively published news of Livia’s release forces her into a life of evading the media and eventually into the rescue of her grandmother from a threat that comes from a wholly unexpected quarter.

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Reviewing the Evidence

Although there are several worthy issues raised in this book, especially in regard to the treatment of women in prison and to the difficulties women face in male dominated occupations, this is primarily a romantic novel and the romantic elements overwhelm any more serious concerns.

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