Lynley: I have a favour to ask of you. Would you call me "Tommy" this weekend? Or even "Thomas"?
Havers:[shocked] No, I don't think so, sir.Lynley and Helen arrive at Howenstowe, Lynley's estate in Cornwall, where his mother, Lady Asherton, lives. The purpose of their visit, of course, is to celebrate their engagement at Lynley's family home. However, it looks like Lynley would have been happier to be anywhere but Howenstowe. He avoids his mother and spends most of his time sulking, especially around Lady Asherton's close friend and lover, Dr. Trenarrow.Friends and family begin to arrive for the engagement party - among them, DS Havers and Lynley's younger brother Peter. Peter is highly resentful of Lynley, and Lynley grows concerned when he finds out that Peter has relapsed into an old drug habit.That evening, as the Lynleys and their guests return from a play at the village hall, they find out that Mick Cambrey, the son-in-law of Howenstowe estate manager John Penellin, has been beaten to death in his shop. Suspicion falls on Penellin, who was known to dislike his son-in-law. Lynley, however, suspects that Cambrey's death is connected with a much wider web of drug smuggling. Although he is not on the case, Lynley decides to get involved to help clear Penellin's name.But Lynley soon learns that the evidence that can clear Penellin could also condemn Peter. Will Lynley have the courage to carry out justice at his brother's expense?