The new race-against-the-clock thriller from the master of the triple cross.
Not all scars are visible. Jonathan Kellaway needs no reminding of that on the verge of his retirement from china clay conglomerate Intercontinental Kaolins. The company has left its mark in pits and spoil heaps around the world. But it has also left a no less enduring mark on some of those who have worked for it, Kellaway included. Its past, as well as its future, is a treacherous place.
So Kellaway is surprised when IK's founder and former chairman, Greville Lashley, sets him a final task before he quits. The academic hired by the board to write the company's history has discovered a gap covering several years in the records of the small Cornish china clay outfit Lashley started with and where Kellaway also began his career. He is despatched to Cornwall to learn what has become of the missing documents.
But the search is a voyage into dangerous waters. A dead friend, a lost lover and a clutch of mysteries from Kellaway's youth in Cornwall and Italy in the late 1960s come back to haunt him -- and to tempt him with the hope that he may at last learn the truth about the tragedies and misfortunes that blighted those years. It is a truth that has claimed several victims before. If he pursues it hard and long enough, he may only add himself to the list.
But pursue it he must. Because the truth, he belatedly realizes, is the secret that has consumed his life. This time -- this last time -- he will not stop. Until he has found it.
open. It was electronically operated, like the gate, and there was no one waiting to greet me. I stepped into a high, circular space, from which an open-treaded staircase curved up to the first floor. Double doors led off into various rooms. Filtered daylight flowed in around me. ‘Hello?’ I called. ‘Hello,’ came an echoing response, though not in Adam’s voice. A young woman wearing only a short silk bathrobe and a pair of fluffy mules ambled out into the hall from what a distant glimpse of
declined Vivien’s offer to collect me in her car. Mum’s curiosity, once aroused, was formidable. I caught a bus to Par and walked along the coast path from there to Polkerris. I was sitting outside the Rashleigh with a drink, watching the last swimmers and sunbathers drifting away from the beach, when Vivien arrived. She was wearing a sleeveless blue and white sweater-dress and huge diamond-shaped sunglasses that she immediately made a joke of. ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,’ she said,
going to need an early night,’ she whispered in my ear. ‘Me too.’ I slipped my hand inside the robe and fondled her breast. ‘Some things are better if you have to wait for them.’ ‘Provided you don’t have to wait too long.’ ‘Go on doing what you’re doing,’ she gasped, ‘and I’ll have to take another shower.’ ‘I could join you.’ She gently lifted my hand away and pressed a finger to my lips. ‘Later.’ I have little memory of what Salvenini told us that evening. Maxim Gorky, Hugh Walpole,
they skim off from the tourist trade? Well, there’s a reason we’ve been targeted and I think I know what it is, but that doesn’t help free Muriel. The only thing that’ll do that is money.’ ‘They’ve demanded ransom?’ ‘Oh yes. And we’re close to agreeing a figure.’ Something in my expression must have signalled my surprise that he’d evidently haggled over the price. ‘If you cave in straight away, they only demand more. And they have an exaggerated notion of what I’m worth. It’s important to show
right, Mr Kellaway? You look as if you’ve seen a ghost.’ ‘I’m fine.’ ‘Well, if you’re sure.’ ‘Are you saying … you’ve done some work for Mrs Lashley in the past?’ ‘I have, yes.’ ‘What sort of work?’ ‘The confidential sort.’ ‘Following people? Checking up on them?’ ‘Confidential means confidential.’ ‘When did you first work for her?’ ‘She’s my client, Mr Kellaway. You aren’t.’ ‘Fifteen years ago? Or more?’ ‘Privileged information, I’m afraid.’ His smile was more of a smirk now. He was