A top Chinese swimmer kills himself on the eve of an international event - shattering his country's hopes of victory against the Americans. An Olympic weightlifter dies in the arms of his Beijing mistress - a scandal to be hushed up at the highest level. But the suicide was murder, and both men's deaths are connected to an inexplicable series of "accidents" which has taken the lives of some of China's best athletes. Li finds himself in charge of what could be his last investigation for the Beijing police. Hampered by uncooperative officials, dogged by a vindictive rival for his job, his only hope of a breakthrough is a champion runner, the sole member of the Chinese athletics team who seems willing to talk. But she will only talk to Margaret Campbell - and now the runner has disappeared. As Li's enemies take their chance to destroy his career, and shadowy figures seem hell-bent on victory at any cost, finding the missing runner seems to be the only way to save his job, his relationship with Margaret and the lives of more young athletes.