On a sultry afternoon in the summer of 1936 a woman accidentally interrupts an attempted murder in a London hotel room.
Nina Land, a West End actress, faces a dilemma: she's not supposed to be at the hotel in the first place, and certainly not with a married man.
But once it becomes apparent that she may have seen the face of the man the newspapers have dubbed 'the Tie-Pin Killer' she realises that another woman's life could be at stake.
Jimmy Erskine is the raffish doyen of theatre critics who fears that his star is fading: age and drink are catching up with him, and in his late-night escapades with young men he walks a tightrope that may snap at any moment.
He has depended for years on his loyal and longsuffering secretary Tom, who has a secret of his own to protect.
Tom's chance encounter with Madeleine Farewell, a lost young woman haunted by premonitions of catastrophe, closes the circle: it was Madeleine who narrowly escaped the killer's stranglehold that afternoon, and now walks the streets in terror of his finding her again.
Curtain Call is a comedy of manners, and a tragedy of mistaken intentions. From the glittering murk of Soho's demi-monde to the grease paint and ghost-lights of theatreland, the story plunges on through smoky clubrooms, tawdry hotels and drag balls towards a denouement in which two women are stalked by the same killer.
As bracing as a cold Martini and as bright as a new tie-pin, it is at once a deeply poignant love story, a murder mystery and an irresistible portrait of a society dancing towards the abyss.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 336 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 08/01/2015
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780224099585