17 year old diarist Cassandra records life living in genteel poverty in a rundown castle sometime in the 1930s. Her Father, who once wrote a seminal book hasn't published a word since and spends his days in seclusion in the gatehouse doing crossword puzzles. His wife, Cassandra's stepmother Topaz, once the muse of the London art scene also has no income so Cassandra, her sister Rose and brother Thomas live happily but well below the breadline and have resorted to selling furniture to the vicar for food. The only person in the household who seems capable of earning an income is Stephen the gardener, whose affection Cassandra does not return.
A long summer weekend in a Midwest American college town. Wallace, a graduate student in biochemistry from a poor background, has had a months long experiment fail at the last hurdle. Was it sabotage? Are his colleagues out to get him? Or is he really, as his advisor constantly tells him, not good enough to be there?
Kara and her son, Jayden, live in Victory Park - a block of flats with a bit of a playground. Money is a constant concern, and she scrapes by, by providing childcare. She and her neighbours form a sort of community, they are all a bit wary of each other, but they do support one another, arranging help for those who need it. Recently Bridget has moved into Victory Park with her son, Rafe. Compared to the other tenants, Bridget is “Flush with cash”. Jayden and Rafe have become mates, and Kara finds Bridget intriguing, and she has luxuries like a car, and they start hanging out together.
Luster is the story of a young woman, Edie, who becomes involved with a married older man who has an open relationship agreement with his wife. The relationship between Edie and the married man seems stalled, until Edie loses her job due to inappropriate sexual behaviour, then loses her flat. The wife of her lover extends a helping hand and moves Edie in with the pair and their adopted daughter.
It’s 4 months on from the last The Nancys caper, and a year since Tippy Chan’s father died, when his car mysteriously veered off the road - Tippy’s “tattooed Santa on steroids” Uncle Pike, and his partner “unmanageable” Devon, are back in Riverstone from Sydney. Tippy is now 12, and the pair will keep Tippy company during her school holidays, while her mother, Helen, works all hours at the Riverstone Medical Centre. Tippy is looking forward to hanging out with the crazy caring duo; most of her friends have left Riverstone, and the one who remains, Todd, is still recuperating from a brain injury sustained during the last outing of The Nancys.
Home to the successful and wealthy, the Cul-de-Sac sits shrouded in the Waitākere Ranges, near Auckland. It is home to Ishaan Rai, whose wife, Nina, disappeared 10 years ago - along with $250,000. After a serious car accident, Ishaan’s son, Aarav, returns to the home to recuperate, despite loathing his controlling father. Then the police arrive to tell Ishaan and Aarav that the remains of Aarav’s mother, Nina, have been found. She has been lying in her dark green Jaguar, hidden by the dense bush not far from their home, for those ten years. Nina hadn’t been driving and the money is not in the car. Aarav is determined to find out who killed his mother, and in doing so he finds this gated community is home to tragedy, abuse, blackmail, and murder.