Anatomy Of A Scandal
by Sarah Vaughan

This is a timely and cleverly written story about sexual assault, politics and wealth. Tom and James, both Oxford Graduates and born rich and privileged, are childhood friends inextricably linked by a grim secret from the past.

Now PM and junior minister respectively, the secret has come back to haunt them in a major way. Will Kate, the ambitious QC, succeed in prosecuting James for rape? Will his equally privileged wife Sophie stand by him, knowing what she has to lose? And what is Kate’s personal link with this sordid affair?

This story feels horribly real, with scenes that explore past and present day toxic masculinity, especially the exclusive Oxford Libertines club, reminiscent (we can only imagine) of the infamous real life Bullingdon Club. “Bolly” gets poured down the sink for fun, “little people” are paid off for the damage and finding unwitting girls to shag is just sport.

What men of privilege and power will do to get away with whatever they want and to protect their careers is explored, with devastating consequences for the female characters. And can truth be manipulated to serve a man’s purposes – or indeed a woman’s? And should it, if it serves the common good?

Not my usual choice of fiction, if I’m honest, but I inhaled this one in a day. The #metoo themes are explored so cleverly and the characters are so believable you almost feel you’ve met them. The urge to punch the air as lies start unravelling in the final scenes was pretty strong. What a shame that powerful men get away with this stuff every day in real life.

Marina Gask