D/S Jimmy Suttle is called to a brutal murder in the picturesque Devon village of Lympstone. Harriet Reilly, a local GP, has been found disembowelled in the bedroom of her partner, climate scientist Alois Bentner.
A rich old man, Rupert Moncrieff, is beaten to death in the silence of his West Country waterside mansion, his head hooded and his throat cut. His extended family are still living beneath his roof, each with their own room, their own story, their own ghosts, and their own motives for murder.
A working life dedicated to murder enquiries exacts a savage price. After the collapse of his marriage and the traumas of a relationship with the daughter he rarely sees, D/S Jimmy Suttle is plunged into a series of killings that will test him to the limit.
No-one liked Jake Kinsey. A rich man, he turned up out of nowhere, acquired Exmouth’s trophy penthouse flat and then bought his way into the local rowing club. No friends, not much of a rower, not a nice guy. And now, after a long fall from balcony, he’s dead.
D/I Joe Faraday is dead. His colleagues, led by D/S Jimmy Suttle, gather for his funeral at Porchester Crematorium. The sole surviving member of Faraday’s family is his deaf-mute son, Joe Junior. At the packed service, Suttle reads Faraday’s favourite poem while J-J enacts a dance from his youth.