Bettina Whitelaw is a grand dame of the English literary scene. Approaching eighty, with a beautiful flat in Holland Park and a comfortable income, her life is not dissimilar to that of her wealthy, elegant neighbours. But her background most certainly is. Brought up in Bundaroo, a small town in the Australian outback, Bettina's childhood was dominated by the relentlessly blazing sun and by the simmering animosities of smalltown life.
Aged sixteen, Bettina managed to escape from Bundaroo and begin her literary career in Europe. But now, as she embarks upon the painful process of writing her memoirs, images from her childhood begin to re-surface. And when her former housekeeper is the victim of a violent attack, Bettina begins to realise that she herself is in serious danger - a danger that has its roots in a small, dusty outback town . . .