Welcome back reliable puzzle-maker Devine after a seven-year absence--and meet bitter and illegitimate Ruth Kellaway, who, after the deaths of her mother and grandmother, takes a job at City Hall in Silbridge, near Glasgow. Why there? Because that's where her undeclared father, Robert Hutchings, is on the verge of becoming the new Chairman of Silbridge District Council--a long-coveted big-fish-in-small-pond job. Convinced that her father's rise in politics is based on fraud, Ruth implacably prepares to expose him. Then. . . murder of an up-and-coming Councillor's loose-living wife, followed by Ruth's disappearance. Obvious suspects: Robert Hutchings and his thoroughly unpleasant family. Detective Sergeant Harry Munro, stubborn and smart, leads his more conventional superiors to a tidy solution--in a solid tale enriched by rich characterization and a lively look at local-level Scottish politics.