The plot is centred on the relationship between the absolutely discreet and loyal secretary, Personal Assistant Christine Butcher, and her driven ruthless boss, supermarket mogul, Mina Appleton. It is Christine’s post-traumatic diary of the events leading up to that present situation. She has fled to a place of safety, so the reasons for that are at once intriguing, and create the read-on fever.
The pace is slow. So slow that the desire to find out what exciting happening is going to be created – for me, anyway – there is temptation to skip ahead.
The characters: the ruthless business woman, whose own father is her first victim, does not hesitate to descend to underhand, if not downright illegal, methods of self enrichment. She is aided and abetted by her obsessively loyal secretary. But somehow they did not quite gel, sadly. Christine unrealistically loses her grip on a loving husband and daughter as she becomes enslaved to her obsession to be the perfect secret keeper. The two characters should have been fictionally real, but they are not totally convincing.
Three quarters of the story reflects on how Christine gets trapped in a snare largely of her own setting, and the last is what she decides to do about it.
Thank you to Penguin Random House, South Africa for this Doubleday Imprint ARC.