A quiet Suffolk village, 1944. Gerald Haxton, aged fourteen, lives with his parents, a solitary twin who constantly talks to his still-born twin brother, Jack. Already disturbed and lonely, Gerald is horrified to discover the body of his elder sister Monica while walking in a forest near his home. Monica has been beaten to death with a wooden stake. Her young GI boyfriend is hanged for the crime. Too late, Gerald's father discovers who really killed Monica. He confides to Gerald's Aunt Tilly, making her promise to take the secret to her grave. Fifty years later Gerald, now nearing retirement, remains a loner. Obsessed with routine, he still regards his dead twin Jack as his only true friend. He works in a TV prop-hire company in London, and the nature of his job - surrounded by artefacts from the past - means that he is constantly reminded of it and, by extension, of his sister's death. In an attempt to alleviate his solitude, Gerald takes to following Mel, the twelve-year-old daughter of a work colleague, Jo. Mel bears a striking resemblance to Monica. A few days later, Mel disappears . . .
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