It is a golden evening of high summer in July 1990. Robin Timariot has set out that morning on what he has planned as a six-day tramp along part of Offa's Dyke. At the close of his first day's walk he encounters an elegant middle-aged woman who seems strangely out of place among the sheep and gorse of Hergest Ridge. They exchange only a few words of conversation, but their talk is enigmatic -- and unforgettable. A few days later, at the end of his walk, Timariot returns home to learn from the newspapers that, just a few hours after their meeting, the woman, whose name was Louise Paxton, was raped and then murdered, along with an artist, Oscar Bantock, who lived near by.
A man is swiftly charged and convicted of the crime, but a string of inexplicable events begins to convince Timariot -- and others -- that all is not what it seems. Timariot, fascinated by Louise Paxton's memory, is drawn irresistibly into the complex motives and relationships of her family and friends, searching against his better judgement for the secret of what really happened on the day she died.
The closer he gets to the truth, the more hideous and uncertain it seems to be. And far too late he realizes that it may threaten many powerful people. So much so that anybody who uncovers it is unlikely to be allowed to live.
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|Title of History eBook: Borrowed Time|
|Release Date: 01-31-2006|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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It began more than three years ago, on a golden evening of high summer. I'd started out from Knighton that morning on what was projected to be a six-day tramp along the southern half of Offa's Dyke. I've always found I think best when walking alone. And since I had a great deal to think about at the time, a really long walk seemed one way of ensuring I thought clearly and well. Decisions masquerading as choices were closing in around me. Middle age was beckoning, a fork in life's path looming ahead. Nothing was as simple as I wanted it to be, nor as certain. But up in the hills, there was the hope it might seem so.
It was Tuesday the seventeenth of July 1990. A well-remembered date, well remembered and much recorded. A day of baking heat and unbroken sunshine, declining to a dusk of sultry langour. A day of solid walking and serious thinking for me, of bone-hard turf beneath my feet and hazy blue above my head. I saw no buzzards, as I'd hoped to, circling in the thermals, though maybe, after all, there was something hovering up there, out of sight, seeing and knowing what I was heading towards.
I'd travelled up to Knighton by train from Petersfield the previous day, happy to be away and alone at last. My eldest brother, Hugh, had died of a heart attack, aged forty-nine, five weeks before. It had been a shock, of course. A grievous one-especially for my mother. But Hugh and I had never been what you'd call close. Twelve years was just too big an age gap, I suppose. About the only time we'd really got to know each other as brothers was when we'd walked the Pennine Way together, in the summer of 1973. Since his death, the memory of those three distant week