The seventeenth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford. A by-pass is planned in the sleepy village of Kingsmarkham, a move that would destroy its peace and natural habitat forever. Wexford's wife Dora joins the protest movement, but Wexford must be more circumspect. Trouble is expected. Before the protesters even have a chance to make their presence felt, the badly decomposed body of a young woman is discovered. Burden believes he knows the identity of the murderer, but Wexford is not convinced. Just as Wexford is about to investigate the murder, a number of people disappear - including Dora Wexford. The Chief Inspector must battle with his powerful emotions and solve the case immediately, before his wife is placed in any mortal danger...