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The optical and X -ray properties of HZ Her are analyzed within the
framework of a model in which the primary is illuminated by X -ray radiation from a degenerate secondary companion. System parameters are derived
on the basis of a simplified model and yield a minimum distance to HZ Her
of - 5 kpc. It is shown that the X -ray pulses and 35 day on -off characteristics as well as the shape and modulation of the optical light curve can
be understood if (i) the primary is illuminated by X -ray emitted in a beam
fixed in a rotating neutron star secondary undergoing forced precession
and (ii) energy is supplied by mass transfer from primary to secondary resulting in the formation of a disc around the X -ray source which contributes significantly to the total light.
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