The discovery of Bradley Pine's body in a lay-by off a busy road clearly signals the end of his bid to win the local bye-election. But what is even clearer - from the state in which the corpse is found - is that this is no ordinary murder.Why would the killer run the risk of dumping the body in such a public place, DCI Charlie Woodend asks himself?
And, even more significantly, why should he - post mortem - decide not only to reduce his victim's mouth to a pulp but also to partly disembowel him?With the election looming - and Chief Constable Marlowe, Woodend's old enemy, taking over Pine's place as candidate - the pressure is on to come up with a result. Any result!
But the more Woodend learns of the case, the more he comes to believe that not only is the motive behind the murder at least as bizarre the crime itself, but that the origins of the crime lie in a mountain-climbing tragedy which occurred three years earlier.