In the peaceful village of Old Sawrey, set in the idyllic Lake District, a murderer strikes. Warren Howe, a husband and father of two, is brutally slaughtered with his own scythe by a mysterious hooded figure. The police manage to identify several suspects, but due to the lack of evidence they fail to make an arrest.
Years later an anonymous tip-off sparks the interest of DCI Hannah Scarlett, who heads the local Cold Case Review Team. Scarlett's investigations lead her to suspect Howe's widow, Tina. Meanwhile, someone is sending vicious poison pen letters to Tina and her two children.
With the help of a historian, and his information on the goings on in his unusual garden, Inspector Scarlett delves deeper and deeper in her quest for the truth, discovering old sins that are casting long shadows. The clues are eventually pieced together, leading to a shocking revelation that will change Hannah's life forever.
When the body of Warren Howe, master landscaper and equally masterful ladies' man, is found hacked apart with a scythe in a garden in Old Sawrey, England, suspicion falls on his wife, Tina, in Edwards's engaging second Lake District mystery (after 2004's The Coffin Trail). But Tina has an alibi, and the case remains open. Years later, the police receive an anonymous note about Howe's murder, and DCI Hannah Scarlett determines to solve the crime. Is a spurned ex-lover responsible for the brutal killing or Howe's business partner, eager to have both the landscaping firm and Howe's wife to himself? Or maybe Tina's alibi isn't so unshakeable after all. In her search for answers, Hannah uncovers suicide, incest and illicit affairs. Indeed, Hannah finds her own eye wandering toward Daniel Kind, a noted historian who enjoys sleuthing in his spare time and Daniel, though ostensibly happily partnered with a charming reporter, returns the affection. Nearly every page yields new revelations in this delectable village caper.