The Woman in the Picture by Katharine McMahon

James Walton 30 November -0001

The page-turning sequel to THE CRIMSON ROOMS by the author of bestselling Richard & Judy Book Club pick, THE ROSE OF SEBASTOPOL.

The Woman in the Picture sequel to The Crimson Rooms

(Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £11.99; ebook, £6.49)

The latest from Katharine McMahon is a sequel to her 2009 best-seller The Crimson Rooms—and, like its predecessor, certainly can’t be accused of lacking incident. The book’s heroine, in every sense, is Evelyn Clifford, whose career as one of London’s few female lawyers of the 1920s brings us a series of twisting courtroom dramas from every class of British society. Her love life is eventful too, what with the dashing Nicholas Thorne returning from South Africa just as she’s engaged her kindly boss. And all this (and much more) against the backdrop of the General Strike, whose own twists are neatly traced through the various members of her large cast. 

At times, admittedly, the author appears almost too smitten with Evelyn, who responds to every crisis with unerring wisdom—and a level of feminist understanding that could belong more to our own times. Yet McMahon juggles her many plotlines with such skill—and takes them at such a lick—that the sheer verve of the story-telling wins through in the end. The result is a richly entertaining yarn, marred only slightly by a feeling that perhaps McMahon meant the book to be more than that. 

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