Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley are forced to confront the past as they try to solve a crime that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of a quiet, historic medieval town in England. The cozy, bucolic town of Ludlow is stunned when one of its most revered and respected citizens--Ian Druitt, the local deacon--is accused of a serious crime. Then, while in police custody, Ian is found dead. Did he kill himself? Or was he murdered? When Barbara Havers is sent to Ludlow to investigate the chain of events that led to Ian's death, all the evidence points to suicide. But Barbara can't shake the feeling that she's missing something. She decides to take a closer look at the seemingly ordinary inhabitants of Ludlow--mainly elderly retirees and college students--and discovers that almost everyone in town has something to hide.