Helen Mably suddenly vanishes, a sex-obsessed academic with a brilliant mind and a deeply disturbed past. Twenty years earlier Helen was a carefree precocious teenager, until she was raped by three policemen in a police social club. Helen’s memory of the event has been clouded by her father’s betrayal. Chief Inspector David Mably was the policemen’s boss and he always maintained that he never covered anything up, just persuaded Helen that if she pressed charges, she would be exposed to sharp defence barristers and intrusive journalists.
Stuart’s an Oxford journalist, who finds out about Helen’s disappearance from her father. David Mably gives an urgent appeal to Stuart’s newspaper about Helen’s plight. Stuart and Mably have a history of vitriolic antagonism towards each other, Mably thought Stuart nothing other than a hooligan, who deflowered his innocent daughter. Stuart saw Mably as a vain, domineering, intolerant perfectionist who never loved Helen. After the interview Mably gives Stuart the first few pages of a journal that Helen intended to publish. It briefly outlined the assault and her intention to write an explicit account of the incident itself and the subsequent cover up. Although Stuart and Helen were in an intense relationship at the time of the attack, he knew nothing about the event.
When Stuart finds Helen they soon realise that her father’s motives are more about supressing not only Helen version of the rape, but something much darker. Together they expose a conspiracy that started in a police social club, involves systematic abuse in a care home and reaches all the way up the ladder to a junior minister in the Home Office. Unknown to Helen, the reconciliation with her father is achieved by one more betrayal on his part.
A dark, psychological mystery about a disturbed woman who finds a degree of justice, but will forever feel the dark hand of her father’s treachery close by.