Following the split from her husband, Helen Pascoe decides to take her children away from London to live in a lovely old house near Falmouth.
The family are beginning to feel happy and settled, when the local community is stunned by a murder. A young man has been found stabbed at the crossroads of two narrow lanes - a place where legend says a gibbet once stood.
It is DCI Channon's territory, and he soon finds that the victim is connected to the Pascoe family, as well as to other residents of the once humble fishing village. The ramifications of the murder affect everybody; suspicion is rife, and Channon, aided by the abrasive Sergeant Bowles, faces one of his most difficult cases.