Combe Island off the Cornish coast offers rest and seclusion to over-stressed professionals who have paid the price of getting to the top. But when one of these distinguished visitors is found hanging from the top of the island's lighthouse, murder - not suicide - is suspected.
Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team are immediately called in: the investigation must be swift, discreet, decisive. However, Dalgliesh has his work cut out, since both residents and visitors to Combe Island guard their privacy well - even when murder makes them a suspect. Does the islanders' reticence betray a knowledge of the crime? Another death and Dalgliesh's own life in danger throws the entire investigation into jeopardy.