When a severed leg is found on the banks of the Thames, Dr. George Barnabas, female forensic pathologist and determined investigator, is summoned to the macabre scene. But with no sign of the rest of the body, she cannot say how the man died. Her next case is equally bizarre: a terribly burned woman in a first-floor flat ? and the fireman thinks the fire started in the body itself. Despite budget battles and squabbles among her lab staff, George desperately wants to pursue these with the local detective chief inspector ? her lover, Gus Hathaway ? but he has been so tied up on another big case that she has barely seen him for a month. Is the arson victim linked to the missing body? Only when Gus himself gets into trouble can she at last begin to delve on his behalf. Soon she is on the trail of a crime more tortuous and criminals more dangerous than either she or Gus bargained for.