'She was lying on the trolley, two white sheets draped over her. The morgue assistant wheeled the body over to us, then removed the sheets from her face. I stared. A long, faint scratch mark crossed her high forehead diagonally from left to right, like a line drawn across a page to strike it out.'
Matthew Bourne is very much the centre of his own universe. He has a long-term partner, a mistress, and a high-flying career in a human rights agency, where he is campaigning to secure the release of a condemned African dissident. Then one day a colleague's wife dies in tragic circumstances, and Matthew is called to identify the body. Only much later does he realise that this incident has seeped into his life like a slow poison, and he spirals into a nightmare of death and betrayal . . .