The woman on the bed had died in the fire. Pamela Vale, aged 34. She had been beautiful, and had been heavily insured. Her husband showed little grief. Her children seemed terrified. Insurance investigator Jack Wade is sure he knows what happened. All he has to do is to gather the evidence to prove it. And Wade is the best there is: fires talk to him, tell him exactly what happened, and how. But not everyone shares Wade's belief that the woman was murdered. California Fire and Life is ready to pay out Nicky Vale's claim on his wife's accidental death and the destruction of their house. As Wade fights the decision, as he gathers more evidence, he begins to uncover a world of corruption where nothing is quite what it seems, a world where it's not fire that talks, but money. . .