The plot of "Forward Into the Past" revolves around a fight for control of Barrington Stanton Industries. It starts back in the 1950s, when Jeremy Stanton murders his partner to gain control of the company. Then, when the widow refuses to sell him her shares, also tries to murder her.
What he fails to take into account is their friendship with Nick Knight, a friendship dating back to the war years. Nick hears of Barrington's death, and comes to pay his respects to his widow Katherine. He is therefore on hand to rescue her from the staged suicide attempt that Stanton had hoped would kill her. Nick persuades her to go into hiding, and arranges a false identify for her with Aristotle. For decades she lives outside the country, still maintaining her interest in the company from afar.
Then Jeremy Stanton negotiates a very lucrative merger deal, which Katherine Barrington intends to block. The only way for Stanton to push it through is to kill her—if he can only find her. To achieve this, he has her former secretary tortured for information and murdered. However, once again, Nick is on hand: he is one of the detectives assigned to the homicide. When he recognizes the victim, he guesses what was going on. It then becomes a race for him to find Katherine and protect her before Stanton can locate and kill her.