Like a nesting set of Russian dolls, there are layers upon layers of pretense in this tart thriller set in Hollywood. British-born Penny narrates the story of her work as personal assistant - and lover - to Russian-born screen idol Yana Ivanova. For the sake of public appearances, Yana is married to a man, Jimmy, and the three of them live together in not-so-perfect harmony in a lovely mansion. A series of mysterious letters threatens to topple their house of cards. Penny and Yana must sort it out before their happiness is destroyed, no matter the cost.
Duffy's writing style is conversational and witty. Penny treads carefully around another actor, Melissa, who seems to be trying to seduce her into a three-way with her ex, Mike - who also just happens to be the leading man opposite Yana in a new film: "Easily bored, his blonde siren, she needs constant change, weather-vane girl, vain girl, glorious girl." Yana pushes Penny into the situation, in order to maintain the smokescreen around their relationship, but neither is happy about it. "She was pissed off and jealous. I was sorry she was pissed off and happy she was jealous."
Sex, drugs, lies and murder and up to a quick and entertaining read.