Twelve-year-old Tammy Franklin has learned too much about death, too quickly. Two years ago she lost her mother to a long, lingering illness and now the body of the woman her father married in an attempt to replace his wife has been found on a railway embankment close to the Franklin farm. This time the death is murder. As Superintendent Markby, one of the first on the scene, well knows, Tammy now stands to have her father taken from her, for Hugh Franklin is suspect number one in the mind of the inspector to whom Markby has delegated the case. But, despite his need to distance himself from the murder, Markby begins to realise that the truth is destined to be far more complex than he ever envisaged ...