Gently is surprised after he receives Bacchus’s resignation, and he soon works out that he has lost his confidence. Attempting to help Bacchus, Gently insists that he needs him to help investigate a death in custody.
Following a suspicious death in a mine in Burnsend, Gently and Bacchus find out about the tensions and relationships in a community which has been ripped wide apart by politics. They also find out about some grudges that go back to the Second World War.
After a couple of deaths end up being connected in an unexpected way, Gently becomes drawn into the world of drugs and LSD, and thinking about a Cold-War conspiracy.