Originally from Lewisham in England, Patricia Lawrence arrived on Saint Marie twenty five years ago. She fell in love with the island and stayed. Through luck and hard work, Patricia managed to get a job working as noted author Sylvie Baptiste's editor and assistant. It was hard work which also included putting Sylvie to bed when drunk and pre-signing copies of her books after learning to forge her signature. It was not all bad though, as Patricia got to travel the world and live a good life. However, she had no savings or pension.
Sometime over the years, she learned that Sylvie Baptiste's seminal novel, The Flame Tree, had not been written by her, but by her sister, Lizzie. Lizzie had suffered a mental breakdown and had forgotten that she had written the book. Sylvie claimed the work as her own.
In the run-up to the first literary festival on Saint Marie – which was to be held at Sylvie's home, the Malbonne Estate – PhD student Esther Monroe contacted Patricia about interviewing Lizzie. Her studies into The Flame Tree led her to believe that Lizzie was the true author. Patricia rejected the interview requests, but when Esther turned up in person for the literary festival, she visited Lizzie with her.
Esther planned to take Lizzie to the clifftop featured in the novel and read a poem that Lizzie had written by forgotten about in the hope that it would jog her memory. The meeting was to be during the festival when Patricia was giving a talk about the book. Not wanting to lose her way of life which would happen if Sylvie was outed as a fraud, Patricia resolved to kill Esther. After telling Lizzie that the meeting on the cliff had been cancelled, she used her technical knowledge to prepare a recording of her talk. Patricia started her talk on stage, then retreated into the wings where the recording took over. She then slipped away, pushing Esther to her death and planting a suicide note.