Heavy rain falls on Lafferton, flooding the cathedral town and causing a landslip out on the moors. As the rain water slowly drains away, a shallow grave - and a skeleton - are revealed.
It doesn't take long to identify the remains as those of missing teenager, Harriet Lowther, who was last seen sixteen years ago. But a cold case isn't a priority for a police force already struggling with staff shortages and cuts: if Detective Inspector Simon Serrailler is to solve the case, he will have to do it alone.
Meanwhile, his sister, Dr Cat Deerbon, is fighting for funding to prevent the closure of the local hospice that offers respite to so many of her patients.