Ex-college lecturer Gavin Miller is found dead; his distorted body strewn across a disused railway track near his home. There's no sign of a struggle, and no concrete evidence except for one distinguishing package: £5,000 of cash, tucked inside the man's pocket.
But when DCI Banks delves into Miller's past, he uncovers a troubled existence tarnished by accusations of abuse and misconduct which throws up an array of puzzling questions.
What really occurred at the college where the victim used to teach?
How was he embroiled in political activism at Essex University, over forty years ago?
And what links him to an upstanding pillar of the community, who also harbours a dark secret from her past?
One thing is clear: someone will stop at nothing - even murder - to prevent Banks from discovering the truth . . .