Pleasure is the highest good: the group who called themselves the Cyrenaics embrace the hedonistic principle until the death of one of their members from an overdose. Sobered, the group went their separate ways. One headed for Canada, another disappeared and a third was believed to have committed suicide - at least until his body turns up in the wreck of a car swept up on the Solway mud flats.
Lovatt Island is one of a group of beautiful, uninhabited islands, near the isolated village of Innellan in south-west Scotland. The skeleton found in one of its sea-caves, shackled to the rock, looks like the relic of some long ago conflict, but the modern watch clasped around its bony wrist gives the lie to that. It presents a challenging, if not urgent case for DI Marjory Fleming. But in the village there is an atmosphere of fear and tension and unpleasant vandalism; a house set on fire.
Marnie Bruce has hyperthymesia; she can remember everything she has ever seen. Everything except for one fateful night when she woke up in an isolated cottage with a head injury and her mother gone. Twenty years later Marnie heads back to Scotland, but in the small town in Galloway, Marnie’s return looks set to tear open old wounds for many of the locals. For DI Marjory Fleming the disappearance of Karen Bruce is a case she would rather not re-open.
Deep in a Derbyshire cave, the skeleton of an 11-year-old girl has lain undisturbed for 18 years. Its discovery brings to light the half-forgotten and horrifying rituals performed by a group of children in their chilling 'Egyptian game'. But the game is by no means over. Technology adds a new dimension to the sinister manipulation practiced by the group's former leader, and a primitive fear returns to haunt his former acolytes.
The rural idyll of life in a remote Welsh valley has turned sour for the Cordiners. For David, life in the local police force is deathly dull after the exhilaration of working for the Met. For Tessa, the hostility of the local community is a daily torment. Then a young nurse is found dead at a nearby beauty spot, her corpse strewn with wild flowers in some sick ceremony.