Inspector Andy Horton returns to his desk in Portsmouth CID after a tedious computer course in London to find there has been a series of highway robberies in his absence and an arson attack at the sailing club where the Chief Constable keeps his boat. What's more the Chief's boat is one of three that have been set alight and he's demanding action. But when the fingerprint bureau phone Horton to tell him the prints of an unknown man found dead in a log cabin in a secluded bay on the Isle of Wight match those of someone he met six months previously, Horton's priorities are clear.
He travels to the island to identify the body but what greets him is totally unexpected. As he follows the trail of the dead man, he uncovers some startling revelations into his own mother's past and the truth behind her disappearance over thirty years ago.