By Stuart Moston
Saffron Alexander, a strong-willed young American lady. Current occupation: living off dad’s credit card. Current preoccupation: mad at herself for chucking her boyfriend, and madder at her father because it was all his fault.
Louis Alexander, Saffron’s father. Current occupation: corporate mogul’s corporate mogul; a frequent adviser to US congressional committees, a leading policy consultant to the World Trade Organization, etc etc. Current preoccupation: severely dislikes Saffron’s ex-boyfriend and wishes to prevent a rapprochement.
Julian Penvellyn-FitzNorbert, Saffron’s estranged lover; an upper-class Englishman. Current occupation: agonised despondency regarding lost love. Current preoccupation: the fact that he has just made things far, far worse for himself.
David York, an altogether more sensible name used by Julian Penvellyn-FitzNorbert for business purposes. Current occupation: reasonably successful but penniless author. Current preoccupation: feeling trapped in a career he increasingly finds unsatisfying but in which he must continue because he desperately needs the cash.
Hugo Mosley, a smart, handsome young go-getter and high-flyer. Current occupation: newly promoted publishing executive. Current preoccupation: wanting to sign-up fresh talent and get rid of authors whose sales are falling, like David York.
Melanie Bird, long ago a cloud in the love life of Julian Penvellyn-FitzNorbert, which then produced the silver lining of an enduring friendship. Current occupation: friend in need. Current preoccupation: a sinking feeling that she has gone and been a little too friendly.
Polly Connaughton, a plucky young Thai-Australian woman who is, or is about to become, a complicating factor in the lives of most of the above. Current occupation: Hugo Mosley’s secretary. Current preoccupation: none. For the time being.