When the body of Maggie Frake is discovered in a cellar room, she is not alone: a man is there, whimpering on the floor, in shock, and unwilling to reveal his identity. The police give their suspect up for psychiatric examination, and he gradually begins to relate the horrific story that culminated in the suicide in the cellar. Throughout her brief life, and despite the affluence of her parents, Maggie was marginalized by her peers, bullied, and robbed of her first love, Simon, as a result of his untimely death.
Her trauma is such that her mother engages the world-famous psychiatrist, Dr Frederick Festenstein, to treat her, and she and the doctor fall in love. Dr Festenstein is everything to Maggie, but he holds a dark secret that serves to torment him and ultimately brings about his demise. Maggie now has a choice: to survive or die. And the difference between the two, she quickly discovers, is a very fine line indeed.