Cover image for Clutch of phantoms
Clutch of phantoms
Layton, Clare, 1951-
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Scottsdale, AZ : Poisoned Pen Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
323 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London: HarperCollins, 2000.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery

On Order



Three women seek to escape the clutches of the past. Cass Evesham, one of the few women stockbrokers in the city, is reeling from the abrupt ending of an affair when she gets even more shocking news: the grandmother whom she thought dead is a celebrated murderess, just released on parole.
Cass' grandmother, Livia Claughton, moves into a safe house under an assumed name. Livia finds it hard to adjust to her new life, and to accept help from those who can't even begin to imagine the reality of the last twenty-five years in prison. It has been, in fact, long punishment for a very different crime from the one for which she was convicted.
Julia Gainsborough, actress daughter of the famous diva killed in her prime, is determined to restart her flagging career and settle some of her demons by starring in a cycle of revenge plays. After all, the publicity could hardly be greater.
In a Cumbrian village, remote from London, their stories intertwine in a pacy, powerful novel that explores questions about the roots of violence and the potential for change.

Author Notes

Clare Layton, who was born in London and educated in a Berkshire convent, worked in publishing for ten years before leaving to write full time. She also writes mysteries as Natasha Cooper. In 2000 she served as Chairman of the British Crime Writers Association. She lives in London.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

This gripping page-turner from British crime novelist Layton (aka Natasha Cooper), the first under her real name, explores the themes of violence, revenge and forgiveness as they affect London stockbroker Cass Evesham and her family. Thanks to her skill and determination, Cass appears to have finally achieved success and recognition in a male-dominated firm when her world is shattered. First, her married boyfriend dumps her, then she learns that her thought-to-be-dead grandmother, Livia, has just been released from prison after serving 25 years for the murder of Cass's grandfather and his lover. Why didn't her mother tell her the truth instead of fabricating the lie that her grandparents were killed in an accident? Why did her grandmother commit such a heinous act? Was her grandmother mad, as some speculated at the time, and could the madness be hereditary? In her search for the answers to these questions, Cass uncovers painful truths about her family and suffers with admirable strength the taunts of the press, gossip and innuendoes at work, as well as the loss of important clients. Layton's insightful and provocative portrait of Livia's existence in prison and the life she leads after her release as she and Cass try to reconnect will engage and touch the reader. While this may not appeal to fans of traditional mysteries, memorable characters and an engrossing plot make this a first-rate psychological thriller. (Aug. 22) FYI: In 2000 Layton served as chairman of the British Crime Writers Association. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved