Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan audiobook review – a smartly realised thriller

Luke Thompson plays the minister who has an affair with a parliamentary aide, in a tale told from contrasting viewpoints

When a high-ranking government minister, James Whitehouse, tells his wife, Sophie, he has been having an affair with a parliamentary aide, and that a newspaper is about to run an exposé, she opts to stand by her man for the sake of the family. But then James receives a visit from police officers who wish to question him about an incident in the House of Commons’ lift. James’s aide, 28-year-old Olivia, has accused him of rape.

Sarah Vaughan’s smart psychological thriller ­– a TV adaptation of which begins on Netflix this month – grapples with complex issues of power, sex and consent as it plots the ensuing investigation and court case. The story is told from contrasting viewpoints: there is steely barrister Kate, crisply narrated by Julie Teal, who has built her reputation prosecuting sexual abusers in cases that aren’t clear cut. “Juries are keen to convict the predatory rapist, the archetypal bogeyman down a dark alley,” she observes, “yet when it comes to relationship rape, they’d really rather not know.”

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