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When an heiress to her estranged family’s ailing wool-growing dynasty resolves to discover who is responsible for its demise, she unwittingly causes the death of her lover – who is more than he appears to be.
Following the death of her estranged father, thirty-something marketing executive Katherine Spencer is bequeathed the family wool-growing property, ‘Tatiara Park’, lately fallen into decline. But the Will has certain curious indulgences; the financial affairs should remain with long-time family lawyer, Adelaide-based Raymond Hartmann, with management of the property assigned to the recently arrived stranger, Cory Hamilton. An unwieldy arrangement for all, reducing Katherine to little more than a consort with no executive powers.
However, having quit her career in Melbourne, Katherine determines to exercise her executive skills anyway and bring the property into the Twenty-first century. With renewed faith in the wool industry, she enlists the astute Cory to establish a new generation of breeding stock to take advantage of new markets. In the process they develop an intimate relationship, much to the chagrin of Hartmann, who has his own agenda.
The fact is, Hartmann’s involvement in the district is not confined to ‘Tatiara Park’. Suspecting a conflict of interest with his rumoured investment in alpacas, competition for her own fibre, Katherine dismisses him, placing her faith in Cory to run the show. Outraged, Hartmann exposes Cory’s indigenous heritage, forcing Katherine to question the sincerity of her emotions and challenge her latent racial prejudices.
Katherine soon learns that city-based Hartmann is a local councillor, a prerequisite for which is property ownership in this rural district. Her research reveals that various parcels of Tatiara Park have been inexplicably transferred to Hartmann by her late father. It is a discovery that exposes a culture of blackmail, deception, commercial greed and misplaced loyalty that implicates a web of players.
(Seems the younger Tom Spencer had planted his seeds far and wide. And when Hartmann became privy to this fact, he ‘convinced’ his client to participate in a scheme to con Chinese investors into paying a world-record price for a dud stud ram – not difficult in the pre-forensic DNA era – along with a continuing appropriation of the Tatiara estate. )
But Hartmann’s objective to take control of the Spencer empire is not to take advantage of what grows upon the fertile land, for he has no concern for alpacas nor the wool industry, but rather for the mineral wealth beneath, the area being steeped in shale oil deposits. But first the obstacles in his way.
After mortally wounding Cory, Hartmann sets about disposing of Katherine, only to orchestrate his own demise in a classic case of misadventure, his heart pierced by an ancient set of wool shears, deemed “dangerous in the wrong hands”.
The real tragedy, however, is when Katherine learns that she and her lover Cory were in fact much closer than they ever realised, their intimacy forbidden by both their respective cultures.