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A brain-teasing stand-alone mystery
When a bedraggled woman turns up on Rory Cavenham’s doorstep in the middle of a storm, convinced that the year is 1972, he’s torn. Recent troubling experiences have left him scarred and wary of involvement, yet he can’t help feeling touched by her strange plight. But she claims she’s lost her memory, so she can’t explain her situation.
Before he knows it, she’s slipped into his life – still an enigma, but someone he feels he must help. However, she’s frightened of unspecified pursuers, so he has to keep her presence under the radar. Gradually he’s drawn to her, but he starts to wonder whether he’s exploiting her or she’s exploiting him.
Their efforts to trace her background eventually unearth not one but two women with a connection to her – one in the present day, the other in the past. But where do their lives intersect, and how can she be both of them at once? When the imagined pursuers turn out to be all too real, the search turns into a race to resolve this brain-teasing paradox before the pursuers find them.
Does A Knock at the Door take us into the realms of science fiction? Not on the face of it. As the story unfolds, plenty of other explanations are put forward for the leading woman’s belief that she’s travelled forward from the past. Yet that original premise hovers as an outlying possibility – and therein lies the teasing contradiction of this tale. Superficially we’re encouraged to dismiss the idea of time travel, while subliminally we’re primed to suspect it might be feasible – within the context of the story, anyway. But does the novel deliver an unambiguous answer? You’ll need to read all the way to its fascinating dénouement to find out!
How does the present day compare with life fifty years ago? Having a self-proclaimed time traveller as a leading character opens many possibilities for reactions (positive and negative) to the ways in which things have changed in that time, and A Knock at the Door takes advantage of that opportunity. Beneath the surface, there’s a ripple of satire as the book makes a few gentle jibes at modern life.
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