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Making Waves

In the treatment room, I scrutinized my face under the fluorescent light. What hidden facts would Signor Eduardo bring out in the glamorous new me? Passion? Suppressed desire? Cool competence?

I didn't really care so long as my face wasn't a signboard for the real truth: Middle-aged. Separated. Abandoned. Scared.

No wonder I needed a makeover.

My mother-in-law had bought me the session about a year before the separation three months earlier, and she asked me about it every time I saw her, managing to make me feel guilty. The unspoken rebuke was that if I had acted more quickly, my perilous grip on a shaky marriage might never have faltered, and her son might not be spending his weekends squiring flight attendants around the breakwater on the firm's yacht, leaving his children to run wild in the streets of La Jolla.

What's a loyal, 40-year-old California housewife to do when her lawyer husband tells her he wants out? If she's Caroline James, she holds her panic at bay with a makeover and a massage, at least until a warning from Eleanor Hampton, the unpleasant ex-wife of her spouse's law partner, has Caroline nervously preparing to fend off a slew of unprincipled settlement tactics. And when Eleanor--everyone's idea of the least desirable dinner party partner since the Furies--turns up suspiciously dead, Caroline has unwittingly become her heir apparent as The Woman Scorned. Suddenly she has a lot more than a custody battle to worry about...

"Irreverent and sharp . . an edgy, wicked delight."