Adrian Grayling is music teacher. He lives alone in a remote village, just about making ends meet.
A strange new pupil who pays in advance for exactly twenty one lessons.
From the moment of his first meeting with this child, Adrian finds himself increasingly preoccupied with this pupil. Before this there had been a settled regularity to his life through which he protected a secret he had long harboured.
Now uninvited things were changing. The impression of music from the attic he didn’t use, an ornate piano stool that contained a coded diary which slowly relinquishes its treacherous tale, the sweet singing voice of a young girl, a familiar tune he doesn’t quite recognize.
Then into Adrian’s life comes a beautiful and spirited Irish woman Siobhan Walsh whom he meets in the village shop. Her natural enthusiasm, alluring wit and fondness for quoting Yeat’s poetry also intoxicate him. The perfumed perfection of her presence was like a bouquet of wild flowers tossed into his life as she scattered unanswered questions like petals behind her. Is she really the visiting freelance writer she claims to be? What is behind her interest in Magus Cottage which he rents? Why does she insist there is a cellar there when he has never seen one? What possible reason can there have been for the exorcism that had been performed in the cottage?
A stranger in the local pub seems to recognize Adrian and his past, always a relentless pursuer, seems in danger of finally catching up with him.
A voice from the saddest part of him asks ‘how is it that we best deceive ourselves when we are most certain that we do not?’