Serious crime isn't supposed to happen in elegant English country homes, especially not in such families as that of Queen's counsel Ralph Mintar, a prominent barrister who's destined to become a high-court judge. So it's particularly shocking when Mintar's attractive wife, Virginia, goes missing just after a small dinner party. Her disappearance is eerily reminiscent of the day four years before, when the Mintars' adult daughter Caroline left the house, never to return. Caroline seems to have vanished off the face of the earth, but Virginia's body is soon found at the bottom of a garden well, and Inspector Luke Thanet and his partner, Sergeant Mike Lineham, who are called in to investigate, quickly discard any idea of accidental death. Virginia was the perfect murder victim. Her outrageous flirting made her many enemies, several of whom were there on the night of her death. They had both reason and opportunity to kill her, but which one took the final, fatal step? Who wanted Virginia dead and gone? Who was Virginia's latest lover? What does her mother-in-law have to hide? What about Caroline's younger sister and her womanizing fiancé? Thanet and Lineham wonder how they can even begin to unravel the morass of family secrets that complicate this case. Distracted by his own daughter Bridget's dangerous pregnancy and pushed by his boss to find hard evidence in this high-profile homicide, Luke Thanet feels pressured as never before as he probes into the life and death of one of the most poignant and, finally, shocking cases of his career. Always a skilled mistress of the classic British crime novel, award-winning author Dorothy Simpson is at the top of her form in this powerful novel of family love gone tragically wrong.