There was something extraordinarily familiar about the girl in the photograph, Alison Maxwell thought, though she couldn't for a moment give her a name. And then she realized that the features were almost the same as her own ...'You're t by any means identical,' Nicolas said, 'but superficially there's a strong resemblance. If you wore her clothes, you could easily pass for her.' Alison knew, with a sudden sick certainty, what he was asking her to do. He watched her steadily, unsmiling. 'For a short period -- say twenty-four hours -- I want you to change places with Elizabeth.' It was a preposterous suggestion. But Alison, an out-of-work actress and deeply in debt, knew that she couldn't refuse. And Nicolas made it sounds so easy ...But then, as Alison was soon to discover, he had told her only part of the truth. When she assumed the role of Elizabeth, she knew loneliness and fear -- her life was in danger and Nicolas was responsible. Too late, she asked herself a number of questions: just how well did she kw Nicolas Allen? Could she trust him to rescue her? Could she trust him at all?
Hester Rowan was born and brought up in rural Northamptonshire, one of the fortunate means-tested generation whose further education was free. She went from her village school via high school to London University, where she read history. She served for nine years as an education officer in the Women's Royal Air Force, then worked variously as a teacher, a clerk in a shoe factory, a civil servant and in advertising. In the 1960s she opted out of conventional work and joined her partner in running a Norfolk village store and post office, where she began writing fiction in her spare time. Hester Rowan also wrote 10 crime novels as Sheila Radley.