Rich, gorgeous, popular and charismatic would describe the James we meet in the heady years of his enviably sparkling youth. It is easy for James’ friends and family to see where such was a charmed young man will end up. Some people were always meant for the heights.
ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL is a read that is straddling two worlds. It does come across as somewhat like the experience of reading a BBCTV telemovie script, though the book lacks the heavier drama punch that could easily have been included. Kudos to the author for not going down this path of easy entertainment. This lack of visceral description and emotional drama actually serves the read quite well, but you need to be prepared to settle in for the long haul of tackling yet another novel that spends half of its time immured in the ghosts of a collegial past – here, being those of the accused and his wife who met during their university years. This childhood/young adult focus seems to be a bit of thing in domestic thriller novels that have flooded the crime fiction market in the last couple of years.
ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL takes its reader to a certain point of questioning all of the character’s motives, though also at the same time wondering why they are all a bit vague as to what it is that they want. It is far easier in this novel to get a grasp on the perpetrator rather than understand what it is that bolsters up the survivor.
The journalistic background of author Sarah Vaughan is evident in the writing. It is an economical style used here, with multi-faceted viewpoints included that all shade the same incident and varied personal encounters in different hues. The greatest strength of ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL is that it instantly seems quite familiar; we feel we have read of the events detailed in the book somewhere in real life, in the recent past. All the major characters are successful people, living and working in the rarefied atmosphere of the British upper class and its political system. Precious opportunities are squandered, and the privilege of serving your country is taken as a right by its entitled male politicians.
Courtroom dramas are always a treat when done well and those in ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL are the culmination of our reader expectations - eagerly anticipated and not disappointed. Timely and carefully presented, the events in ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL have a greater impact for not being lavishly over dramatized and will continue to spark weighty conversations amongst its readers for some time.