It is Havers’ first day back at work after being shot, and her first case involves a young woman murdered with a shotgun in rural Suffolk. Though Havers is outwardly stoic, Lynley worries that it will reopen old wounds. When a photograph of the murdered woman arguing with a man is sent to the local police station, and a mysterious word is painted on the wall of the crime scene, it seems that someone connected with the case is trying to send them clues. It transpires that the victim had only recently moved back to the village. She grew up there, but had left to go to university and had since been living in London. The pub landlord was still infatuated with her, the dead woman's husband knew she was unfaithful to him, and there seems to be a mystery surrounding the suicide of the victim's younger sister. As their investigations continue, the detectives uncover a dark secret that the village has kept hidden for years. In a final confrontation, Havers is held hostage at gunpoint and has to face her fears of being back in the line of fire.