The fourth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
A man and his daughter lie dead after a car accident. Strangely, no other car was involved and no cause has been found. Wexford's only option is to wait and hope that the one surviving victim - the mother, Mrs Fanshawe - regains consciousness.
But when she finally awakens six weeks later, Wexford's attention has already been distracted by a new and very violent case. Walking by the canal that same morning, Wexford discovered the bloody body of Charlie Hatton.
The two cases are obviously unrelated, although something is bothering Wexford and he can't work out why or what. But just as he begins to wonder whether there could in fact be a connection, the unexpected occurs: the Fanshawe daughter, believed to be killed in the accident, appears at her mother's beside very much alive...