The private prayers of thanks Roberta Palmer’s lover, Nicky Kalinicos, and her closest friend, Paula, privately offer up following the bizarre death of Roberta’s mother, Zena, are quickly supplanted by their fears for Roberta’s sanity and safety when Roberta agrees with her solicitor to spend one final weekend at Galloway, her mother’s Bedfordshire country home. Roberta knows that she should stay well away from Galloway and the terrible secret it holds, which ultimately destroyed her mother, but a decision has to be made about her late mother’s housekeeper and confidante, Carmel Knox, who is threatening to sell a warts-and-all exposé of Zena’s hedonistic lifestyle to the highest tabloid newspaper bidder.
There is, however, a measure of comfort for Paula when Roberta invites her to accompany her to Galloway, even though the same invitation is extended to Marilyn Harper, who is employed at Roberta’s London Docklands art gallery as her personal assistant. Paula jealously perceives Marilyn as a threat to her own relationship with Roberta. She senses instinctively that Marilyn is somehow going to be Roberta’s downfall. Particularly since Chaz Pockett, presenter of “Pockett Watch” – a day-time consumers’ rights TV programme – who was investigating an art scam in which Roberta’s gallery was believed to be heavily involved, finds himself falling in love with Marilyn.
The first step in the realization of Paula’s worst fears is taken when the body of the man whom Marilyn claims she saw “stalking” Roberta in London’s West End, is discovered in Galloway’s woodland. From that point on, there is no turning back for Marilyn, who naïvely aids and abets the ugly dark forces within Galloway which reach out from Zena’s past and threaten not only Roberta’s life, but also Marilyn’s in a terrifying climax both for them and for Paula when the threat, with its horrifying revelation and totally unexpected turnaround, finally becomes a deadly reality. Having steadfastly rejected Chaz Pockett’s advances, both personally and professionally, it is nonetheless to Chaz that Marilyn now turns, and to whom, ultimately, she owes her life when Galloway’s terrible secret threatens to tear her down, too.