Middle-class, middle-aged and, according to his partner, menopausal, Detective Inspector Bill Slider is never going to make it to the Yard. Passed over for promotion again, the last thing he needs in his life, or on his patch, is an unidentifiable, naked female corpse.
A priceless Stradivarius and a giant tin of olive oil are the only clues in an investigation that takes the steely-eyed, furry-headed detective all the way from the exotic backstreets of Shepherd's Bush to far-flung Birmingham.
When a noted womaniser dies in mysterious circumstances in a sleazy motel and the whole of his murky past comes to light, DI Bill Slider begins to question more than whether the game is worth the candle. Right is right, and indivisible. As soon as he's solved the motel mystery, and found out what the Neary boys and Gorgeous George are up to, Slider's going to have to start putting his own house in orders ...
Detective Superintendent 'George' Dickson's replacement by DS 'Mad Ivan' Barrington - a new broom determined to sweep clean - is all par for the course for DI Bill Slider, as he faces the unhygienic fact of a dismembered corpse in a catering establishment.
But there are still niggling questions to distract him: why didn't Barrington like Dickson? What is the mystery of the stake-out they once did together? And why is Slider's home life in almost perpetual stride?