More than half of Bartonshire, it seemed, had entertained murderous thoughts at some time or another about the bullying farmer Bernard Bailey. Perhaps this was the reason why he had his property protected by more security devices than Fort Knox. In the end though, they didn't help. After six months of highly publicised death threats, Bernard's bloodied corpse is discovered in his isolated farmhouse. And so DCI Lloyd and DI Judy Hill begin the most unusual murder enquiry of their careers.
When the owners of a struggling detective agency are found asphyxiated in their car, Detective Chief Inspector Lloyd rejects the majority opinion that they committed suicide. His theory that they were murdered becomes even more likely when the doomed couple's only client, wealthy Mrs Angela Esterbrook, is found shot dead. Why would someone with her sort of money employ an untried agency to carry out an investigation?