It is the Monaco Grand Prix in May 1968. Jack Preston, a mechanic for Team Sutton, is making the final checks on his car as the beau monde mingles with the drivers under the eyes of the world's press and the galleries of spectators.
DeeDee, a starlet of great beauty, seems to be walking towards him, or perhaps towards the royal box.
Without warning a fireball rips across the starting grid.
Preston will always bear the scars as a consequence of his unthinking heroism, his saving the life and the beauty of the girl, but details of the accident remain vague - no photographs capturing the moment have come to light. Weeks later, Preston emerges from hospital and goes home to his wife in a remote English village from which the drab atmosphere of the 1950s has yet to recede.
There, as he slowly recovers, he awaits word from his employers and some sign of DeeDee's gratitude, an acknowledgment that it was he who saved her life. This is an unsettlingly beautiful story of obsession by an acknowledged master of classical restraint. Translated from the Dutch by David Doherty