It was supposed to be "a lovely break". As their mutual friend, Helena, is the toast of Broadway, stand-up comedian Cissie O'Brien, who is the nation's darling with her popular television series, decides to take the beautiful and troubled actress Maggie Salt to New York to see her. But Maggie, a destructive whirlpool of a personality, is cracking up fast - "out of her tree" - and on arrival, she suddenly disappears into the freezing February night, no one knows where.
As the search for their friend continues, dangerous cracks occur in the lifelong relationships of Cissie, Helena, and her stoic husband, Mark. Helena has always been utterly self-centred and now Cissie, haunted by the tabloid outing of her relationship with her lover, Jenny, back home, disappears too. Now, two of the closest of friends are lost separately somewhere in snowbound Manhattan.
Meanwhile, Maggie has been rescued by a stranger, Michael, who offers her sanctuary of a highly ambiguous kind.
©2006 Julie Walters (P)2007 Orion Publishing Group Ltd