As a producer of radio documentaries, she had been given a diary in which nothing was written but endless lists of numbers. It clearly dated from the wartime prison camps and if the code could be found, who knows what would be learned.
There is nothing sinister in her death, however. A simple pneumonia. But she dies suddenly and away from home, which makes it hard for those who love her: her parents and her long-time lover.
In the aftermath of her death, these people remember her ~ and the memories of Gail, spark off other memories and so tales unwind which take us from Vancouver to British North Borneo in the last days of the second world war, through the troubles of Indonesia, to Holland, Australia, and back to Canada.
Ansel, her husband, remembers his Gail ~ found in Australia and brought to Canada. He remembers her warmth and her laughter, and his own infidelity, and the distance that grew between them, and their moves to regain what they had lost what he has lost now forever.
Matthew, her father remembers his childhood the war in North Borneo, his father's part in it and the implications of that for everyone. He remembers his childhood love, and his seeking her out afterward and again the implications of that.