Award-winning Michiel Heyns returns with a richly textured novel set in contemporary South Africa. The murder of a beautiful woman shatters the rural village peace of Alfredville, and her husband, the police station commander, is jailed as chief suspect. Her cousin Peter, a freelance writer in London, returns to South Africa for the first time in decades - unsettled, curious, but also in search of a career-defining story. On checking into the Queen's Hotel he finds that things are not as straightforward as he imagined, and South Africa is not as he left it. His carefully ordered world is thrown into turmoil as his trip dredges up a long-abandoned past, forcing him to question the assumptions so easily held from the comfort of his London flat. He meets a mixture of locals, visitors, vagrants and migrants, but most momentously, Peter discovers that his bosom friend from school, Bennie Nienaber, is still in Alfredville - and is in fact now, acting station commander at the local police station. Peter re-establishes an awkward friendship with his erstwhile friend and the two warily circle each other, sharing reminiscences that hint at a bond much deeper than nostalgia. As Peter abandons the neatly patterned story he had planned and is forced to participate in a community that he once despised, he begins to reconsider his place in the world. In search of Desiree's story, he now starts to rewrite his own - till events take an even more shocking turn...This book explores questions of xenophobia and prejudice, of national, sexual and personal identity, and what it means to be a foreigner wherever you go.