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Authors: Penny Vincenzi

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Old Sins

BOOK: Old Sins
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About the Book

About the Author

Also by Penny Vincenzi

Title Page


Chapter One: Wiltshire, France, London, 1939–1948

Chapter Two: London, 1948–51

Chapter Three: London, 1953–7

The Connection One: Los Angeles, 1957

Chapter Four: New York and London, 1956–9

The Connection Two: Los Angeles, 1957-8

Chapter Five: London, 1959

The Connection Three: Los Angeles, 1965

Chapter Six: London and New York, 1965–7

The Connection Four: Los Angeles, 1968

Chapter Seven: London, 1970–71

The Connection Five: Los Angeles, 1970–71

Chapter Eight: London and France, 1972

The Connection Six: Los Angeles, 1973–6

Chapter Nine: London and Eleuthera, 1973–6

Chapter Ten: London, 1979

The Connection Seven: Los Angeles, 1980

Chapter Eleven: London, Paris and New York, 1980–82

The Connection Eight: Los Angeles and Nassau, 1981–82

Chapter Twelve: Bristol and London, 1982

The Connection Nine: Los Angeles, 1982

Chapter Thirteen: London and New York, 1982–3

Chapter Fourteen: London and New York, 1983

The Connection Ten: Nassau, 1983

Chapter Fifteen: Sussex, 1983

Chapter Sixteen: Eleuthera, London and Los Angeles, 1983–4

Chapter Seventeen: London, Sussex, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Nice, 1984–5

The Connection Eleven: Nassau, 1984

Chapter Eighteen: London, Los Angeles, New York, 1985

Chapter Nineteen: London and Sussex, 1985

Chapter Twenty: London, 1985

The Connection Twelve: Miami and Nassau, 1985

Chapter Twenty-one: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, 1985

Chapter Twenty-two: London, Nassau, Los Angeles, New York, 1985

Chapter Twenty-three: London, Los Angeles, New York, 1985

Chapter Twenty-four: London, New York, Los Angeles, 1985

Chapter Twenty-five: Los Angeles, London, New York, 1985

Chapter Twenty-six: London, New York, Los Angeles, Nassau, 1985

Chapter Twenty-seven: London, Sussex, Scotland, 1985

Chapter Twenty-eight: New York, Scotland, London, Eleuthera, 1985–6

Chapter Twenty-nine: London, 1986

Chapter Thirty: Los Angeles, London, 1986




About the Book

Old sins cast long shadows . . .

POWER: Two clever, stylish and ambitious women are fighting for control of a multi-million cosmetics empire.

MYSTERY: What is the secret that lies behind its charming, ruthless, mysterious creator, Julian Morell – and why when he dies does he split the family inheritance between his family and a complete stranger?

GLAMOUR: Here are the designer interiors, the jewels, pictures, cars and to-die-for couture of the rich and the super-rich – the glittering, fabulous world Julian created for himself, and the six powerful women who loved him.

PASSION: A love story, poignant, sexy, tempestuous, spanning thirty years, a mother, a mistress, a wife and a daughter, but always overshadowed by . . . 
Old Sins

About the Author

Penny Vincenzi began her career as a junior secretary for
She later worked as Fashion and Beauty Editor on magazines such as
Woman’s Own
, before becoming a contributing editor for
She is the author of two humorous books and fifteen novels. Penny Vincenzi is married with four daughters. Her website address is

Also by Penny Vincenzi

Free Sins

Wicked Pleasures

An Outrageous Affair

Another Woman

Forbidden Places

The Dilemma


Almost a Crime

Sheer Abandon

An Absolute Scandal

The Best of Times

The Spoils of Time Series

No Angel

Something Dangerous

Into Temptation


There’s One Born Every Minute:

A Survival Guide For Parents

Taking Stock: Over 75 Years of the Oxo Cube

Old Sins
Penny Vincenzi

Old sins cast long shadows

Irish Proverb


London, May 1985

across the room at her stepmother and her father’s mistress and decided he couldn’t possibly have loved either of them.

Not to have subjected them to this; to have insisted that they met, under these circumstances. She found the thought comforting.

Just for a moment, just a brief moment, it was almost worth all her own pain, her sorrow that he had died, to witness theirs: and the added distress they were feeling by being forced to be in the same room, observing a degree of social nicety.

They were sitting, the two of them, on either side of the heavy marble fireplace, in the first-floor boardroom of the family solicitors’ office in Lincoln’s Inn, both formidably quiet and still, neither looking at the other; occasionally Camilla would shift in her chair, and turn another page of the magazine she was reading (
, Roz noted with a stab of vicious amusement, such inappropriate reading for a mistress, so deeply symptomatic of Camilla’s earnest American feminism) but Phaedria stared fixedly into the fire, almost unblinking; she seemed barely conscious.

Roz felt an almost overpowering urge to go over and wave her hand in front of her face, to say ‘boo’. This personification of grief, the latest of the many roles she had watched Phaedria play over the past two and a half years – ranging from child bride to wronged wife, via media cult figure – was probably, she thought, the most pathetic. She was doing it well though; as she had done all of them. God in heaven, why had her father not seen through her earlier? She sighed, her own unhappiness surfacing again, fiercer for the brief respite; the pain made her irritable, impatient. What the hell was going on? Why wasn’t anything happening? Why did she bother being punctual, when half the family – well, a good third of it – still hadn’t arrived?
And what was Henry Winterbourne doing? He was so hopelessly inefficient; just because Winterbourne and Winterbourne had looked after the family since 1847 (when old Sir Gerald Winterbourne had offered his services to his friend Marcus Morell in settlement of a gambling debt) nobody ever seemed to question his tendency to behave as if Queen Victoria was still on the throne and his inability to recognize the close association between time and money. Well, Roz was about to question it, and to find herself a lawyer of her own: someone young, hungry, and who appeared to be a little more au fait with the existence of such late twentieth-century aids to efficiency as the word processor, the motorbike messenger and the fax machine; Roz was always mildly surprised to find Henry using a telephone and not signing his letters with a quill pen.

She walked over to the large Georgian window, and looked down briefly on Lincoln’s Inn in the late spring sunshine, trying to distract herself, take in what she saw, but it was all meaningless: barristers striding about in their court robes and wigs, pink ribbon-bound papers under their arms (why pink, she wondered idly – such a frivolous, unsuitable colour – why not black?) sober-suited solicitors making a business of hurrying, bustling along, some ordinary people – clients she supposed – walking more slowly, a pair of extremely elderly looking judges, heads together, in earnest discussion. All those people with happy straightforward lives, and here was hers a complex nightmare. And quite possibly about to become more complex, more of a nightmare. She turned and looked back into the room; her husband was hovering rather helplessly in the doorway, trying to look purposeful, as if he was actually doing something.

‘C. J.,’ she said, ‘Would you get me a drink please, not coffee, something stronger. And while you’re about it, could you ask Jane why we’re being kept waiting like this. I have a meeting at two-thirty, I can’t spend the entire day here. I do think it’s too bad of Henry not to get things properly organized. And also is there any news of the others? Have they got the wrong day or something? I just don’t understand why nobody in this family can get themselves together without being hours late for everything.’

C. J. Emerson, christened Christopher John, but nicknamed by his initials in the good old American tradition when he was
only two years old, turned obediently to go in search of Jane Gould, Henry Winterbourne’s secretary, and almost collided with her as she walked in with an armful of files.

‘Oh, Jane,’ he said apologetically, ‘I’m sorry to bother you when you’re obviously very busy, but do you have anything stronger than coffee on the premises? My wife particularly is feeling the strain, and I think we could all do with something to lift our spirits.’

Jane Gould looked at him with immense sympathy. She had rarely seen a man more miserable: like a dog, she thought, who has been thoroughly whipped already, and is waiting in the certain knowledge of a second onslaught. She wondered, and was not alone in wondering, why C. J. stayed with Roz, how he had ever got mixed up with her in the first place; he was so gentle, and charming too, and so good-looking, with his brown eyes, his freckly face, his floppy hair.

‘Well,’ she said, her usual irritation at being treated like a waitress by clients eased by her sympathy for him, ‘we’ve got some sherry. Would that do? Nothing stronger, I’m afraid.’

‘No, no,’ said C. J., anxious to be as little trouble as possible. ‘I’m sure sherry will be just fine. Thank you so much. Oh, and Jane –’

‘Yes, Mr Emerson?’

‘Jane, do you have any idea what this delay is about? Is Henry going to be very much longer? Eleven, he said, and it’s so unlike him to be unpunctual.’

Jane’s face went instantly and loyally blank. ‘I’m afraid I couldn’t possibly tell you,’ she said. ‘I have no idea what can be delaying Mr Winterbourne. But I’m sure he’ll be with us as soon as he possibly can.’

Roz appeared at C. J.’s side. ‘Jane, dear, I’m afraid that isn’t good enough,’ she said. ‘Just go and find Henry, will you, and tell him we need to get on. We are all – well, most of us,’ she added with a ferocious glance at Phaedria, ‘busy people. We can’t afford to sit about for hours on end just because Henry hasn’t prepared things properly. And is there any news of my mother and Lord Garrylaig, or Mrs Brookes? I suppose they’re all held up in the traffic?’

‘I’m sorry, Mrs Emerson,’ said Jane calmly. ‘It isn’t quite hours, of course, only about twenty minutes. But I can see it’s
irritating for you. Mr Winterbourne is just on the phone to New York. He really won’t be very long, I’m sure. And yes, I was just coming in to tell you, Mrs Brookes has just telephoned from her car. She is, indeed, in a dreadful hold-up on the Embankment. No news from your mother, I’m afraid, but I expect it’s the same kind of problem. Anyway, I’ll get you your drink. Would Lady Morell like some sherry do you think? And Miss North?’

‘I really can’t speak for them, I’m afraid,’ said Roz smoothly. ‘I suggest you ask them yourself. I daresay Lady Morell would like anything that’s going. That’s her usual style.’

C. J. looked at her nervously. She was wearing a black crepe Jean Muir dress, which skimmed over her tall slim body; her long, long legs were encased in black tights; she wore no jewellery at all, her dark hair was cut very short. She looked dramatic, almost severe. Roz was not beautiful and certainly not pretty, and the fact caused her much anguish; and yet she was striking-looking, she turned heads, with her white skin, her very green eyes, her strong mouth, her straight if rather large nose. And men liked Roz; they were drawn to her in preference to her prettier sisters, she was better fun, she was direct, she was sharp and clever. She was also extremely sexy.

‘Roz,’ said C. J., who spent much of his life wishing she was less direct and who did not benefit greatly from the fun, nor even the sexiness, ‘please don’t start saying things we could all regret.’

‘C. J.,’ said Roz, with quiet savagery, ‘I shall say what I like and about whom I like, and I have no intention of regretting any of it. I am finding it very hard to endure the sight of Phaedria sitting there like a queen of tragedy when it’s patently obvious she’s got exactly what she’s been after ever since she married my father. All I can hope is that she will get a few unpleasant shocks when his will is read. Clearly she isn’t going to be homeless or penniless – unfortunately, in my opinion – but maybe she won’t get quite as much as she has clearly been hoping for. As for Camilla North, well I really cannot – oh, Jane dear, how kind, but I really don’t like sherry. Haven’t you got anything else at all?’

BOOK: Old Sins
8.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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