A beautiful June day in the Yorkshire Dales, and a group of children are swimming in the river near Hindswell Woods. But the idyll is shattered by their discovery of a man's body, hanging from a tree. DI Annie Cabott soon discovers he is Mark Hardcastle, the well-liked set designer for the Eastvale Theatre's current production of Othello. Everything points to suicide, and Annie is mystified. Then Annie's investigation leads to another shattering discovery, and DCI Alan Banks is called back from the idyllic weekend he had planned with his new girlfriend. Banks soon finds himself plunged into a shadow-world where nothing is what it seems, where murder is seen as the solution to a problem.
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