It is 1999. Alastair is a doctor in his eighties, living in a cottage by a loch in Scotland. He wakes up in hospital having fallen and hit his head, inducing almost total amnesia. A young student, Clémence, the great-niece of a French friend of his, is looking after him.
In his cottage, Clémence finds a manuscript. The first line shocks her: It was a warm, still night and the cry of a tawny owl swirled through the birch trees by the loch, when I killed the only woman I have ever loved. She read the short prologue: it describes a murder by someone who is clearly the old doctor. The victim is Clémence's French grandmother, Sophie.
Clémence decides to read the book to the old doctor as it describes how he and his friends met Sophie in Paris in 1935. As they read on, the relationship between the student and the old man turns from horror and shame to trust and compassion. Which is fortunate, because there are people closing in on the cottage by the loch who are willing to kill to make sure that the old man's secrets stay forgotten.
What other authors have said about Amnesia…
"Highly ingenious and engaging: a mystery within a mystery within a mystery, like one of those Russian dolls. I was gripped. The irony in all this is that Amnesia will lodge in my memory for years to come."
"Impossible to put down - a great read. Loved the ending."
"Scenically breath-taking, ingeniously plotted...The best thriller you'll read all year"
"A really top-notch story which weaves past and present into a nerve-jangling edge-of-your-seat thriller."
"A complex story, well researched and beautifully executed, pacy but poignant - I loved it."
"With its setting in the Highlands of Scotland and Italy, Amnesia is a compelling and complex thriller. This is Michael Ridpath writing at his elegant best, prolonging the tension right up to the neat little twist on the very last page."
"A wonderfully twisty thriller, with unflagging pace and a premise to die for."
"I defy you to put this down before you've read to the bitter end. This book is absolutely compulsive. Another fabulous and irresistible thriller from the UK's king of crime."