A slightly over-complicated but strongly told tale of crimes and secrets in and around a North-of-England law firm--with a downbeat, rather tetchy hero. He's Frank Hales, partner in the Durham firm of Manson, Crombie and Wood, married to the daughter of a domineering local tycoon--and Frank is becoming more and more certain that wife Joyce is cheating on him. But then bigger troubles surface: clerk/accountant Martin Andrews has discovered that senior partner James Manson has been siphoning off cash from trust funds, doing slimy side-deals, and selling trust assets for his own profit. And when old Manson turns up dead (in a secret love-nest he shared with a strumpet), Frank is left with whopping debts. . . and with the growing suspicion that someone is trying to frame him for the murder, perhaps with help from untrustworthy Joyce. Finally, there's a series of showdowns with Frank's suspected and real enemies, climaxing in a shoot-out on a sandy shore. Solid, rather dour and contrived work--with special appeal to those with an interest in law-and-finance skulduggeries.