cover image Anatomy of a Scandal

Anatomy of a Scandal

Sarah Vaughan. Atria/Bestler, $26 (400p) ISBN 978-1-5011-7216-8

Cases don’t come much higher-profile than the potential career-maker assigned to driven British barrister Kate Woodcroft, QC: prosecuting golden boy junior Home Office minister James Whitehouse, the prime minister’s best friend since their boyhood at Eton, for raping the young parliamentary researcher with whom he recently ended a brief affair—in a lift at the House of Commons, no less. But the focus isn’t simply the he said–she said courtroom fencing match, but deeper truths about the nature of privilege and power. Skillfully interweaving the story of the unfolding scandal with James’s and his wife Sophie’s student days at Oxford—as well the drug-fueled, swept-under-the-carpet tragedy there that has informed his relationship with the PM ever since—Vaughan gradually reveals just how shockingly high the stakes are. Such is the strength of this sinewy novel from Vaughan (The Farm at the Edge of the World) that the glossy, tabloid-ready surface proves one of the less interesting facets of the engrossing, twist-filled tale that unspools. Agent: Lizzy Kremer, David Higham Associates (U.K.). (Dec.)