Love and need make unexpected bedfellows, and both are blind. As the grip of a long hard winter tightens on Lydmouth, a dead woman calls the dying in a séance behind net curtains. Two provincial newspapers are in the throes of a bitter circulation war. A lorry-driver broods, and an office boy loses his heart. Britain is basking in the warm glow of post-war tranquillity, but in the quiet town of Lydmouth, darker forces are at play. The rats are fed on bread and milk, a gentleman's yellow kid glove is mislaid on a train, and something disgusting is happening at Mr Prout's toyshop. Returning to a town shrouded in intrigue and suspicion, Jill Francis becomes acting editor of the Gazette. Meanwhile, there's no pleasure left in the life of Detective Chief Inspector Richard Thornhill. Only a corpse, a television set and the promise of trouble to come.