Middle aged ex prostitute Pauline is known as Rubber Woman by those who work the streets of Cardiff each night. Now employed by a charity, she carries around a bag full of condoms, offering them with advice to the girls of the night along with providing support for those who want to leave the game. Problem is most girls don't want to leave the game, and those that do are under control of a violent pimp. Megan, a forensic psychologist has tagged along as Pauline does her rounds, she's doing a report for a university on the effects on the women by the local crackdown on prostitution, which is forcing the women into more dangerous parts of town. The night before a prostitute was brutally stabbed in a car park. The following morning the news is showing a crime scene where this time the prostitute died. Megan wants to know if she may have met the prostitute last night and needs Megan to tell her who it is. However Megan's not answering her phone.
It's an okay short story and will amicably pass the time, but it's not up there with the best of the Quick Reads. The murderer's identity is very predictable, and it's questionable why someone smart enough to be a psychologist doesn't immediately work it out, but then again even with Pauline's car in the car park in the same place she left it the night before, Megan's not bright enough to work out she's dead. Plus we have a side story about another woman contacting her boyfriend and visiting his flat that has nothing to do with the main tale, and we never go back to it later to finish it off, meaning you do wonder just what the point of that was. We've also got the weak writing of the villain confessing everything holding the knife before they finish the job.
The Rubber Woman is part of the Quick Reads series of stand alone published short stories. If you're unfamiliar with the Quick Reads initiative, they are books published to increase literacy levels by encouraging those who don't like to read beyond magazines and comic books, to try fiction through cheap priced (current Quick Reads all sell of the rack for under two pounds in the UK) short story length fiction and non fiction. It's an okay read, and I suppose it's possible those who haven't read much fiction won't work out who the killer is before Megan does, but if you're a regular fiction reader even though you'll work it out, it's still enjoyable enough to pass the time on a commute to work, while waiting for a flight and so on.