When police are called to a house in Chelsea following a complaint of a noisy party, all seems to be quiet - but a short while later, flames are seen coming from the house In the main bedroom, the fire brigade find the body of Mrs Diana Barton, who has been stabbed to death.
DCI Harry Brock and DS Dave Poole discover that, far from being the reserved housewife she seemed, Diana was a fun-loving woman who made certain that the party developed into something closer to an orgy.
But Diana Barton's murder is not the only killing, and soon the complex enquiry stretches as far as Australia . . .
Det. Chief Insp. Harry Brock and Det. Sgt. Dave Poole investigate the deaths of James and Diana Barton, a wealthy London couple who are murdered one week apart, in Ison's overplotted 10th Brock and Poole mystery (after 2009's Breach of Privilege). After Diana's body is discovered in the aftermath of a fire in her Chelsea house where a sex party is held while James is out of the country, Brock and Poole uncover the many extramarital affairs that she had had before her murder. As the number of suspects, including Diana's Australian daughter-in-law, increase to complicating effect, the characters lose their distinction and the plot becomes increasingly bogged down in repetitive dialogue. Diana's ex-husband, former lovers, and a con man in Australia all become part of a case that reaches a climax over a disputed inheritance of several million pounds. Weak characterizations, including those of Brock and Poole, diminish a story that fails under the weight of lackluster writing. \n