Burke's 18th novel is a timely, addictive and twist-laden outing that engages from the first sentence - "I betrayed my sister while standing on the main stairs of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a beaded Versace gown (borrowed) and five-inch stiletto heels (never worn again)."
When Adam, a prominent Manhattan lawyer is murdered, the two long estranged sisters are reunited.
One is the dead man's widow - a wealthy, well-known feminist editor Chloe Taylor who narrates much of the novel; the other his ex - the editor's troubled elder sister Nicky - who ticks all the requisite Loser boxes - including child neglect and alcoholism, but who kept it together just long enough to woo and marry the handsome lawyer.
Once they had a child however things went swiftly downhill and eventually Chloe and Adam get together.
While they live a privileged life - a swanky Manhattan apartment, a house in East Hampton - Chloe's success only adds to a growing coldness between them - Adam comes a distant second in the salary stakes.
When Nicky's impetuous teenage son (now Chloe's stepson) is accused of murdering his father - Burke's ingenious plot kicks into gear.
Like 2018's bestseller The Wife this puts family dynamics under the microscope of the criminal justice system and looks at another complex female relationship.
Burke's experience as a prosecutor and law professor ensure the courtroom scenes ring true, but it's her novelist skills and a timely social-media focused #metoo plot that keep the pages turning.
Her depiction of the sisters - their rise and fall as long-kept secrets are revealed is deftly done, although one wishes for a little more page-time of Nicky's particular brand of jaded cynicism.
The - on the face of it - "better sister" - is Chloe (320 000 Twitter followers; has "danced with Ellen") - but the distance between appearance and reality is something even she - who we meet in an early chapter receiving an award for her contributions to the feminist movement - can't quite paper over.
Yes she's driven, rich and celebrated but much of her life is built on a shifting sand of self-deception and glad-handed PC approval.
While she's tending to her picture-perfect social profile she fails to notice the increasing alienation of her teenage stepson.
In many ways this is an old fashioned tale and its satisfactions lie in the unexpected ways Burke keeps the plot rolling and readers guessing, while saving key discoveries to a perfectly executed ending.

The Better Sister
Alafair Burke
(Faber & Faber $32.99)