Lonely, ageing and chronically ill, Ned Jones is found dead on a sweltering summer afternoon in his rooms. Detective Chief Inspector Michael McKenna and his team become involved when the post-mortem findings cast new light on what at first seems a natural death.
In search of Ned's killer, McKenna visits the house of Edith Harris, where Ned lodged. But fragile, neurotic Edith and her three enigmatic daughters spring one surprise after another on McKenna. Slowly, McKenna begins to unravel a story of scholarship and greed, deceit and twisted loyalties, where the sins of the past, as well as the present, are avenged on innocent and guilty alike.