A budding journalist disappears while chasing a story about dark doings in the English countryside.
After two weeks of running police training courses on race relations and sensitivity, DCI Neil Paget (Acts of Vengeance, 2003, etc.) wants nothing more than to get back to investigating crimes. But his boss has something different in mind. Sir Robert, the chief constable, has gotten a worried call from his niece, so Superintendent Alcott sends Paget to Whitcott Lacey to interview Emma Baker of Whitcott Agricultural College about the disappearance of her housemate Mark Newman, a journalism student who took her camera without permission and went off in his van two days ago. At first Paget thinks he has better things to do, like figuring out why his live-in girlfriend Grace Lovett is so reluctant to give up the apartment she never uses. But when Mickey Boyle, who had been talking animatedly to Newman in the local pub days before the student went missing, suddenly leaves for Ireland in the company of two thuggish-looking blokes, it seems that there may be a real crime after all. And indeed before it’s over the National Criminal Intelligence Service will assure Paget that the crime is very real indeed.
What begins as a routine police procedural somehow morphs into an tale of international intrigue without ever losing its taste for the mundane or the obvious.