Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan review – a political page-turner

Themes of harassment and privilege are at the heart of this gripping tale of dark goings-on at Westminster

This page-turning novel reveals the precarious nature of existence as the seemingly perfect lives of Sophie and her husband James unravel. Part psychological thriller, part courtroom drama, and reminiscent of Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard, the book centres on a scandal that hits at the heart of Westminster when James, a junior minister and the prime minister’s closest friend, is arrested and stands trial accused of rape. The narrative moves deftly between the present-day and a long-buried secret from university days. Shifts in perspective between Sophie, James and prosecuting barrister Kate add considerable suspense. Running throughout are timely issues of consent, harassment, privilege, and anachronistic attitudes to women in politics as the author anatomises the inner workings of the corridors of power, as well as the hidden recesses of the mind and heart.

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan is published by Simon & Schuster (£12.99). To order a copy for £11.04 go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99


Anita Sethi

The GuardianTramp

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