Matilda Poliport, recently widowed and largely estranged from her four adult children, has decided to End It All. She has cleaned her cottage, given away her beloved pet goose and burnt any incriminating letters. Now all that remains for her to do is eat her picnic, take her pills and swim out into the ocean. But her meticulously planned bid for graceful oblivion is interrupted when she foils the suicide bid of another lost soul - Hugh Warner, on the run from the police - and life begins again for them both.
Life, however, is never that simple and awkward questions demand answers. What, for example, was Matilda's husband Tom doing in Paris? Why does Matilda's next door neighbour see UFOs in the skies of Cornwall? And why did Hugh kill his mother?