Beginning with an impulsive action, this unusual Scottish novel veers into dark territory, the unpredictable landscape of strangers and an unplanned future where menace lurks unabated. Leaving his factory job after being fired by his boss, Bernard Morton, nineteen-year-old Harry Glass gets into Morton’s car and drives off. As Harry is aware, Morton’s wife is sitting in that car, waiting for her husband as she does everyday.
With few words exchanged, the impromptu road trip continues through winding and unfamiliar roads, far from the factory and Mr. Morton. The two have little money between them, Mrs. Morton acquiescing to Harry’s leadership through the next day. When they spot a clumsy, hand-lettered sign advertising snacks on an obscure country road, they stop at a dead end.
Mrs. Morton is ill. A couple at a house and the end of the road offers sandwiches and a bed for Mrs. Morton as well. Meanwhile, Harry makes an important discovery, one that ensures Bernard and his brother, Norman, will be on their trail. The story turns from simple runaway to a more sinister landscape, where the helpful couple, August and Beate, absorb Harry and Mrs. Morton into their home. Harry helps with the chores, albeit with an uncomfortable sense that August is watching his every move.
Bonding with Beate, Mrs. Morton is unavailable to Harry, and he is unwilling to share his recently discovered secret with anyone else around. It seems that Hansel and Gretel have found themselves lost in the forest, a friendly witch welcoming them, either a refuge or a trap. What appeared a happy coincidence, shelter from their pursuers, may be danger in disguise.
Lindsay writes a deceptively simple tale fueled by vague menace, an analogy of love lost and redeemed, a final desperate action resulting in a deadly confrontation. A web of deceit unfolds, the easy evil of two men thwarted by one more clever and more sinister.
A parallel story unfolds, a relationship born of circumstance and unexpected threat, of misplaced intentions and opportunity. With a subtle twist of fate and unerring plot, a bond bridges age and reason, a dark psychological study that skirts the realm of nightmare and of hope: “In the dark night of the soul it’s always three in the morning.”