The former lady mayoress of Torquay is found murdered in a hotel room, apparently by the man with whom she was having a secret affair. But DI Stafford Paulson is unable to find any suspects. Then it is discovered that a similarly rich lady has died in mysterious circumstances at about the same time each year for the last five years. As the sixth summer holiday period approaches panic rises in the local society.
Meanwhile Susannah Blake, a lonely former TV leading lady married to a big London businessman who is away most of the time, finds herself making friends with Richard Harris.
At police headquarters the Deputy Chief Constable has borrowed a bright young university graduate from New Scotland Yard to show the provincials how it’s done. DCI Charlotte Faraday is twenty-nine, clever, attractive and independent. She has developed a new computer programme which can rapidly search a huge amount of historical data to throw up links for the detectives to follow. Paulson and his team are instructed to co-operate with her.
Faraday and Paulson start looking for connections between the five deaths. The gigabyte detective is under pressure to find the murderer before he kills again.