A Partial Indulgence, By Stephanie Theobald

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The Independent Culture

Since her raunchy début, Biche, Theobald has authored a series of distinctive books featuring erotic antics in the demi-monde. Here she goes off piste, with a yet more fantastical tale.

Set in the 1980s art world, the title promises "High Art, High Stakes, Low Morals". It delivers on all fronts, though at times the plot proves enigmatic.

Charles Frederick de Vere is a sleazy art dealer who sells Picassos and Navajo rugs to the filthy rich. His amanuensis, Carmen Costella, a chambermaid he picked up at Claridge's, is there to do his bidding. Theobald's imaginings come gilded in the unfashionable glitz of another age.