Detective Superintendent Veronica Reason is a forty-two year old widow. The death of her family in a tragic accident two years before has left her scarred and lonely and longing for a smoke, which she resists. She concentrates on her job to compensate. The book opens with the murder of a pretty young prostitute in her own home in Bristol, England. Reason and her fellow CID officers follow the abundant forensic and historical evidence. Within hours they have a sure-fire suspect, the man who made her pregnant as a teenager. Her squad prepare for his arrest with handcuffs at the ready. There is just one problem, he has disappeared. His boss dismissed him the day before and sent him on his way. The search begins but without success. Another problem arises for Reason and her team when the forensic evidence sent back from the lab points in another direction. In spite of their near certainty, he is definitely not the killer.
They must regroup and begin again. Painstaking investigation eventually leads them to a second suspect; this time they are certain. This man had the means, the motive and the opportunity. His DNA and fingerprints put him at the scene of the murder and in intimate contact with the murdered woman. When interviewed at his home, he eventually admits to being in the room with her but he insists he left her alive. His exalted position in society will not save him from prosecution. Reason makes 100% sure that he is their man before she finally arrests him and brings him to the interview room at the police station. During the interview, she is interrupted by a junior member of the team with a startling piece of new evidence. The second suspect, who would surely have been found guilty if the case had gone to trial, is let off the hook at the last minute in spite of his DNA being on the girl’s body. Reason and her partner races to arrest the real killer, a man no one suspected, missing him by seconds as he escapes on a high powered motor-cycle. Reason has the car, an old style Mini Cooper, and the skill to give chase. In a thrilling and action packed finale, given a unique twist by assistance from a police helicopter, we see her pursue the killer across the heart of Somerset until he is brought down in the quiet village of Chew Magna. The ending is something never seen before, as far as I know!