When the body of well-respected local builder, Jim Tullman, is found beaten to death on the steps of the Collingwood Monument, DCI Vera Stanhope questions how such a seemingly beloved and imposing figure could be attacked so viciously.
When security foreman Gary Mallon is fatally wounded during a robbery at a Blyth container port the evidence points to an audacious heist that went awry. Vera begins to suspect an inside job. But the investigation takes an unexpected turn when Gary's ex-wife contacts police with the news that their 13-year-old son is missing.
Gary Mallon was acting under duress - the victim of a tiger kidnapping. His son was being held as collateral - but where is he now?
Primary school teacher Lizzy Swann is found dead at the bottom of a cliffside coastal walkway, but what appears at first to be a terrible accident, quickly becomes a murder investigation as Vera discovers evidence the body has been tampered with. Interviews with those who knew Lizzy paint a troubling picture of a guarded and paranoid woman who seemed to be burning bridges with friends and family alike in the days leading up to her death.