When small-time gambler and petty crook Steinie Taylor turns up dead in a hopper of flour at a country bakery, Gently has to figure out not only how he got there, but also why his prime suspects all appear to have dark secrets to hide. Why had the deceased villain and two of his friends been spending money like it was going out of fashion? Where had they acquired the cash? Why had they strayed from their usual haunts? Why did Taylor's friends both disappear? In the kind of town where everyone usually knows everything about their neighbours, there are a few surprises in store for the locals and the investigation becomes ever more sinister when one of Taylor's cronies is also found dead. The race is on to find the third man before the killer can claim him as another victim.