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Helena and Irene Webton could not be more different. Thirty-year-old Helena is a successful restorer of the antique furniture; she is also watchful, damaged, and so private that even her lover has to be kept at a distance. Irene, her stepmother, is flamboyant, feisty, fat, and fed up with her role as the well-behaved wife of a High Court judge. Her first play is about to go into rehearsal, and she determined to build a career in the theatre before it's too late. They both adore Irene's son, Ivo, whose gilded good looks and cleverness ease his path through life. But not everyone shares their devotion, and there are those who believe something much more sinister lies behind his mask of charm and brilliance. When one of them tries to persuade Helena that Ivo could be involved in crime, she is faced with a horrible dilemma. Should she ignore the evidence, confront him - or involve the police and risk disaster for them all?